Transitioning from three to two meals per day is a significant milestone in your dog’s life and has a considerable impact on their overall health. Knowing when to transition your puppy to two meals per day will put your puppy on the path to becoming a happy and healthy adult.
Puppies can transition from three meals per day to two at the age of six months. However, consider that breed, weight, or an underlying medical condition may influence their nutritional needs. Consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet.
Bringing home a new puppy is a huge commitment! Not only must you survive the puppy’s first night at home, but you must also establish and adhere to a regular feeding schedule from the start. A regular feeding schedule and high-quality food are critical for your puppy’s growth and development, and they have a significant impact on how healthy your pup will be when they reach adulthood.
When is The Best Time to Switch Your Puppy To 2 Meals a Day?
Puppies mature to adolescence when they reach six months of age, which means their nutritional requirements change as well.
At six months, your pup’s development rapidly slows down; thus, they no longer require as much food. This is an ideal age to consult your veterinarian about the right food for your puppy based on their specific nutritional requirements.
When your puppy is between six and twelve months, it is best to transition from three to two meals per day. Take note that most toy and small breed dogs can transition to two meals per day between seven and nine months.
In contrast to their smaller counterparts, large breeds should eat three meals a day until they are between 12 and 14 months.
Twice-daily feeding works well with your dog’s digestion and hunger patterns, and it also fits into many of our daily routines. However, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet. Pets require a unique feeding schedule tailored to their breed, size, or existing medical condition.
The most significant advantage of scheduled meal feeding is maintaining portion control. While puppies have plenty of growing left, it should be a steady and controlled process.
Your veterinarian will check your puppy’s weight regularly and show you how to monitor their body condition to ensure they aren’t growing too quickly or becoming overweight.
‘Free feeding’ is discouraged by veterinarians compared to scheduled meal feeding because it increases your puppy’s risk of becoming overweight. This can have severe consequences for large breed puppies prone to developmental orthopedic diseases, such as hip or elbow dysplasia.
What Are the Best Feeding Times for a Puppy?
Adolescent pups should ideally have their two daily meals eight to ten hours apart. Dogs, like humans, have simple stomach anatomy. This means food will move into the small intestine, and the stomach will empty within a few hours, stimulating a hunger response.
Maintaining a strict feeding routine prepares your dog’s body for the food it will receive.
Feeding times assist in far more than better digestion for your pup. A consistent feeding schedule aids in-house training puppies since they usually need to go potty within 10 to 15 minutes of feeding.
By associating a ‘potty stop’ with mealtime, you can teach them to associate the urge to urinate and defecate with being in the appropriate location.
Are There Signs That You’re Feeding Your Puppy Incorrectly?
Your puppy has a daily calorie intake requirement that is recommended based on its size, age, breed, activity level, and health. Ensuring your pup consumes enough calories promotes healthy growth and development. You should consult with your veterinarian to advise you on how many calories your puppy needs.
The rib cage is a good determinant of whether you are feeding your pup enough. You can do this by running your fingers along your dog’s rib cage. You should be able to palpate individual ribs but not see each rib’s definition.
If you can’t feel their ribs, you’re probably overfeeding your dog. If you notice visible ribs, your dog is hungry and requires more food.
Furthermore, if you notice that your puppy’s fur is dull and dry, it may be a sign that they are malnourished.
It is also essential to pay close attention to your dog’s bowel movements to determine whether they are consuming enough calories. Gas, constipation, diarrhea, or vomiting bile are all signs that your puppy is underfed.
If your puppy’s activity level remains constant, the usual amount of food should suffice. However, as puppies grow, they require fewer naps and have more energy to play.
Therefore, if your pup has had a more active day than usual, you should give them a little extra food. This should account for the calories he expended and keep him satiated.
When is Your Puppy Ready for Adult Food?
Puppies require plenty of energy, protein, calcium, and phosphorus to grow. Therefore, it is vital to give your pup a high-quality, balanced feed appropriate for their breed and size.
However, when your pet reaches adolescence, they should switch to an adult diet more suitable for their needs. The breed and size of your puppy determine when you should make this changeover.
Puppies of larger breeds grow more slowly and may not reach their mature weight until 18 months old or older. While transitioning to an adult diet at 12 months is usually appropriate for smaller breeds.
It is essential to consult your veterinarian before you make any adjustments to your dog’s diet since sudden changes can cause your puppy gastrointestinal upset. Introducing puppies to adult feed must be done slowly and gradually over a couple of weeks to avoid any complications.
Most puppies can start eating two meals a day between six and twelve months. However, it would be best to consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your pup’s diet since sudden changes can cause complications. Additionally, each puppy will have unique requirements based on size, breed, or underlying medical condition, so consulting a professional about changes in feeding is vital.