A large breed puppy needs to be given food specifically designed for them to grow and develop properly.
Additionally, keeping a large breed puppy feeding chart ensures that you are keeping track of the amount of food your puppy is eating.
Large breed puppies take a longer time to grow and need to be fed high-quality protein to help them grow well.
Ensure that you feed your puppy nutrition that supports their bone and joint development to avoid problems in the future.
Feeding your puppy the right amount of food will ensure that they are not overweight or underweight throughout their life. If you have any concerns about what your puppy is eating, speak to your vet.
Continue reading to learn more about how much to feed a large breed puppy.
How Much Should A Large Breed Puppy Eat?
The amount of food that a large breed puppy eats depends on their age, activity level, health, brand, and type of food.
Large-breed puppies need to eat more food compared to small-breed puppies because they grow a lot and develop more muscle.
All dog food brands contain a guideline on the packaging stating the amount of food that your puppy needs to eat according to their age and weight.
Developing a feeding schedule for your puppy is necessary to avoid them gaining or losing weight.
A feeding routine also helps them develop good habits and enables you to know exactly how much your puppy is eating.
Large Breed Puppy Feeding Chart
A large breed puppy needs to be fed between three to four times per day depending on their age.
Once they transition to adulthood, you can feed them once per day or twice if their activity level is high. The amount of food can range from 1 to 11 cups of food depending on the weight of your puppy.
To know exactly how much you should feed your large breed puppy, find their Resting Energy Requirement which is calculated by multiplying (weigh in kg)3/4 by 70. Once you have found the RER, multiplied it by two and you will get the exact calories your puppy needs.
If your puppy weighs 30kg, their daily calories are:
(20)3/4 * 70 = 662 * 2 = 1324 Calories
4-Week-Old Large Breed Puppy
A large breed puppy at four weeks begins to get weaned off the mother’s milk and be introduced to solid puppy food.
The weaning should be a gradual process to allow the puppy’s tummy to get used to the new food. You should mix the food with water to make it soft and easily digestible.
Reduce the water amount with time until your puppy can eat only puppy food.
At this age, feed your puppy about one cup of food, distributed over four meals. Do not force your puppy to eat all the food if they do not want.
6-Week-Old Large Breed Puppy
At this age, your large-breed puppy will be used to solid food and fully weaned off.
They are now full of energy and running around, so their appetite increases, and the mother slowly move away to allow them to eat their food.
This means that you should increase the amount of food to about 1½ to 2 cups, but still feed them four times a day.
You should monitor what they are eating to know whether you need to increase or decrease the amount of food.
8-Week-Old Large Breed Puppy
This is the age that the puppy is changing homes and leaving the breeder’s place.
Their activity level is also increasing at this stage, so the amount of food should also increase so that they have enough energy to remain active.
They are also experiencing rapid growth and will need more nutrients to support their development.
Feeding the puppy 2 to 3 cups distributed over four meals per day is recommended.
Since the puppy is getting used to their new home, it is important that you continue feeding them the same food type and brand that they were eating at the breeder’s to reduce the stress of adjusting to two new things at the same time.
10-Week-Old Large Breed Puppy
Feeding your large breed puppy about three cups of food at ten weeks is enough. Distribute the food over four meals so that they have continuous energy throughout the day.
Monitor the food that you are giving the puppy to ensure that it is enough, not more or less. Adjust where necessary to ensure that your puppy gets all the necessary nutrients.
Feeding four times per day ensures that the gap between mealtimes is not too long, as your puppy can be restless and destructive when hungry.
The puppy is also growing at this stage, so they need to eat the necessary calories.
12-Week-Old Large Breed Puppy
At the age of 3 months, your puppy should be getting used to their surroundings, other pets, and people in their life.
As their physical activity increases, they should also be barking constantly. They are now getting control of their motor skills as they are developing healthy and strong bones and muscles.
Four cups of food distributed over three to four meal sessions is recommended.
If the puppy is coping well, you can reduce the mealtimes to three, however, if they are not, continue feeding them four meals to maintain their digestive health.
14-Week-Old Large Breed Puppy
At the age of 14 weeks, your large-breed puppy has more control of their bladder and should be potty trained.
They start teething at this age, meaning they will be biting anything that comes their way, therefore, you should buy them chewing toys and feed them hard dog food to help with the process.
Continue feeding them four cups of food but reduce the mealtimes to three per day. Ensure that they are getting adequate exercise to burn off the calories and avoid gaining weight.
16-Week-Old Large Breed Puppy
Feed your puppy three times per day and still feed them four cups of food.
You should adjust the amount of food you are giving him if he is burning more or fewer calories. This is the stage where your puppy experiences rapid growth, therefore, you should ensure that the food is well-balanced.
6 Months – 12 Months Old Large Breed Puppy
From the age of six months, your large puppy will reach half of their adult height. Ensure that the food you are feeding them supports their bone development.
The puppy is also developing sexually, and the females will experience their first heat.
Between 6 and 12 months, you can reduce the number of meals to two and they should eat about 3 to 6 cups depending on their weight.
12 Months & Above Large Breed Puppies
From the age of 12 months onwards, large-breed puppies attain their adult height and weight. Once they do, you should transition them from puppy food to adult food.
The process should be done slowly to avoid upsetting your dog’s tummy and causing stomach issues.
You should feed them twice per day and as they get older and adjust the amount depending on your puppy’s needs. The amount should be between 4 to 8 cups.
Understanding Large Breed Puppy Nutritional Needs
Large breed puppies need to be fed a balanced diet of nutrients that contain fats, protein, and carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals.
Large puppies grow a lot but they should not grow so fast, therefore, the food that they eat should come from a diet that helps with healthy muscle and bone development.
A calorically dense diet that is high in fat can make your puppy grow faster and lead to skeletal abnormalities.
Protein is an important nutrient as it contains the basic building blocks and supports healthy muscle development.
Puppies need more protein than adults but remember that too much protein can lead to an imbalance of phosphorus and calcium affecting joint and bone development.
Large-breed puppies need 30% protein and 9% fat. Ensure that the protein source is high in quality and can include chicken, lamb, and beef.
Your puppy also needs vitamins such as copper, manganese, zinc, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. The best sources of carbohydrates for your puppy should come from fruits and vegetables.
Ensure that your puppy is not deficient or has excess nutrients as they may have abnormal orthopedic development. Avoid feeding your puppy toxic veggies and fruits such as raisins, grapes, and onions.
How Many Times A Day To Feed A Large Breed Puppy?
The following ways show you the number of times to feed your large breed puppy. Your puppy at two months needs to eat four meals.
At three months, they eat three meals daily, and at 4 months two to three meals.
When the puppy is between five to 12 months old, their meals are divided into 2 meals. At 12 months and above they can have between one to two meals depending on your puppy.
Be careful that your puppy does not take in too many calories before they are 6 months.
This will disrupt their growth pattern by leading to speed-up growth and causing potential bone problems.
If you have a mixed breed puppy, you may not know the size they fall into. Use the puppy weight chart to get an idea and know when to consider your puppy a full-grown dog.
Kibble Vs Wet Food For Large Breed Puppies
Most pet-food companies have collaborated with canine nutrition scientists to come up with special diet food for all puppies.
Kibble food, also known as dry food, is an economical type of food that has a complete ad balanced diet for all dogs. Your puppy can take dry food just as it comes from the bag.
Canned food is a very expensive type of food and most puppies find it very palatable. Be careful of food that is all meat because your puppy needs a completely balanced diet for nutritional fulfillment.
Semi-moist food is a one-serving packet meal. It comes like a hamburger.
As long as balanced and complete for your puppy, you can feed your puppy with kibble or wet food.
When to Stop Feeding Puppy Food
You will need to stop giving puppy food and switch to completely balanced adult food.
Breed size determines this transition as it is with the amount to feed a puppy depending on the dog breed.
Large breeds take a longer time to mature and hence may need puppy food for up to 24 months.
However, the transition time to adult dog food is about 1 to two years. Your veterinarian will help determine the right time to switch and the tips for making this change easy on your puppy.
Switching From Puppy Food To Adult Food
Puppies have different dietary needs than adult dogs. Therefore, they are premium dog food specially planned for puppies. A puppy should be fed puppy food for 12 months before transitioning to adult food.
Transitioning your puppy food from puppy to adult need to be gradual.
The mixing of puppy food and adult dog food can take up to ten days. As you increase the adult-dog food ratio, decreases the puppy-food ratio. This enables the dog to adjust to the new meal.
What If My Large Breed Puppy Won’t eat?
Generally, puppies eat well when fed with the other puppies in the kennel. However, not all puppies eat a lot.
When puppies get to their new home, they might not eat well for the first few days. They might just taste the meal and leave. They could also prefer eating from your hand to the bowl.
If the puppy does not eat beyond four hours, it is better to call the vet, and if they look unwell.
The following reasons could show serious problems and need immediate attention:
- No bowel movement
- Pup does not eat or drink
- Pup stops eating and loses appetite
Can You Free Feed A Large Breed Puppy?
Free-feeding a large-breed puppy is not a good idea. Using feeding schedules is good because when they are free-fed, puppies are left with food all the time hence, they might eat even when they are not hungry.
Sticking to a feeding routine help the dog remains healthy.
A feeding schedule also helps a lot with the house training because when fed at the same time every day, they will learn to poop or pee at a specific time too, hence easy to work within that.
You can even take them for a walk some minutes after eating and they will learn to release themselves during such times.
Is A Raw Diet Healthy for A Large Breed Puppy?
Raw dog food can be homemade, store-bought, or freeze-dried.
Raw diet includes muscle meat, organ meat, raw eggs, whole or ground meat, dog-safe fresh fruits and vegetable, and dairy products such as yogurt.
Healthier skin, coat shinier, improved dental health, smaller stools, and increased energy are some of the benefits of raw food.
However, studies have shown that a raw diet is not good for dogs that are at home with children or people because of compromised immune systems.
Great care is needed when handling, preparing, and sanitation. Dogs with cancer, pancreatitis, or other diseases need cooked food. Puppies are also good with cooked food.
How Much Do Large Breed Puppies Grow Each Week?
Usually, large dogs continue growing until they are 18 months to get to full adult weight.
At two months they are about 9-15 lbs. Large puppies at four months are about 18-30 lbs. When they are 6 months old, they are about 29-49 lbs and when they are 8 months, they are 39.5 to 65.5 lbs.
Large puppies at 10 months are 48.5- 80.5 lbs and when they are about a year old they weigh 58.5 to 97.5 lbs finally by 18 months, they are 88-100 lbs. A fully grown large breed dog is about 100 lbs.
Keeping a puppy growth chart will help you monitor how much your puppy is growing.
Should You Feed Large Breed Puppy Supplements?
If your puppy is getting a high-quality meal that is well-balanced, then supplements are not necessary. When a puppy gets a meal that has everything, it is good.
Usually, puppy food has extra nutrients, hence there is no need for supplements.
If you give your puppy supplements without advice, it could affect his health. Because too much of it could cause problems.
For example, too much calcium leads to skeletal problems. Hence, always talk to your vet because adding any extra nutrients to your puppy’s diet.
How Much Water Should A Large Breed Puppy Drink?
Growing puppies need water for survival. The amount of water depends on activity level, size, and age. Very young puppies usually get hydrated from their mother’s milk.
When weaned, they start solid food and hence need a fresh supply of water.
Young puppies, in general, need about half a cup of water every two hours. However, keep monitoring your puppy to be certain they are drinking enough water and no more.
Older puppies that have been weaned require between one-half ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.
For example, a pup weighing 20 pounds needs between 10 to 20 ounces of water every day. The pup might need more water on their active days.