2 Guides on How to Feed Your Growing Puppy
Step 2 of 10 in the Dogly Life Stage Feeding Channel
with Cory & Jane of Dogly

If you're like most pet parents, you worry if you're giving your dog the right adult dog food or puppy food and whether it's the right nutrition in the right amounts your dog needs to thrive.

Whether your dog is a puppy or a senior or anything in between, nutrition is one thing you can control and matching it to your dog's needs can make all the difference in keeping your dog his or her healthiest self.

Because life stage is an important way to understand which nutrients your dog needs, certified canine nutritionist and Dogly Advocate Alicia Boemi created this series to help you know how to feed your dog for life stage and why.

In these two guides, you'll learn:


Puppy Feeding Guide 1: How to Feed Your Dog for Life Stage

Every dog is an individual, and at the same time, understanding your dog's life stage gives you a valuable framework to help match your dog's specific nutritional needs with developmental, energy, and lifestyle needs at key points.

Why does life stage matter in canine nutrition?

In this guide, you'll learn the specifics of why feeding your dog for life stage matters:

1) Why different life stages need different calories

2) The difference in nutrient needs for different life stages (and what happens with deficiencies)

3) The difference in digestion needs in different stages

4) Why feeding your puppy the right puppy food matters

5) How to know which dog food is right at which stage

6) Other factors that impact where your individual dog is in terms of life stage

You'll learn the details of critical nutritional choices that depend on whether your goals are feeding to ensure growing puppies, healthy adult dogs, or vital seniors.

Alicia also shares examples that illustrate some of these differences in real life - like how large breed puppies are prone to developing skeletal problems if they eat too much calcium, so they need a diet that's lower in calcium. Meanwhile, senior dogs are more prone to developing joint problems, so they need a diet rich in joint-supporting nutrients, and often fewer calories, nutrient dense overall.

To learn why and how feeding for life stage can help ensure you're giving your individual dog or puppy all the right nutrients for a balanced diet, jump into the full guide here.


Puppy Feeding Guide 2: How to Know What to Feed Your Puppy (or Adolescent Dog)

What to feed a puppy is always an important question because you're giving your puppy nutrition for high-growth mode now and establishing healthy foundational systems, such as a strong immune system, to set up your dog to be healthy long into the future.

Dogly Nutrition Advocate Alicia Boemi shares a canine nutritionist's perspective on everything you need to know about your puppy's nutrition and how to feed your puppy for now and a healthy base going forward.

What you'll learn on feeding puppies:

1) Why it matters to know as much about your puppy as possible

Most puppy owners usually have them joining their family sometime after 8 weeks, often quite a bit after. You'll want to learn as much as possible about your puppy's life before you.

For example, did your puppy benefit from his/her mother's milk for a solid start or develop in limited nutrition circumstances? If possible, you want to know if you need to make up for any nutritional deficiencies with extra nutrients to help shore up your puppy's nutritional base - and be aware of any other potential health issues.

2) How to set up your puppy for good health in puppyhood and beyond

Alicia shares the details on what matters most in how you feed your puppy and how much food no matter what form it's in - with an eye for energy output, calorie needs, and nutrient requirements. 

3) Can puppies have stress - and do they need nutrients to reduce the impact?

The short answer is yes and yes. All the newness in your puppy's life can trigger plenty of stress that you'll want to mitigate with nutrition as well as supportive, positive training that helps your puppy decompress and feel comfortable in his or her world.

4) Why to think holistically - especially for puppies

Alicia describes why it matters to think proactively about the full holistic picture of your puppy's health as you think about proper nutrition - everything from history to environment to an overall approach to being well.

5) How to feed your puppy for growth

Puppies grow at a high rate for the first 5 months, then gradually taper off around 6 months and continue developing for 12-24 months. (A large breed puppy is the most likely to keep growing up to 24 months.) Puppies need such a high volume of nutrients that it can be difficult to take in enough calories, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals to meet their needs, which is why a nutritionist's guidance matters.

6) What's the right puppy feeding schedule?

Puppies need frequent meals to stay fueled with energy and nutrients. Remember that treats are food too, and your puppy treats should be packed with nutrients also (true for all dogs, not just puppies).

Alicia shares a general guide to timing for feeding your puppy:

Puppy feeding chart by age/frequency

  • 6-12 weeks: 4x a day
  • 3-6 months: 3x a day
  • 6-12 months: 2x a day (adolescence stage)
  • Giant breed dogs up to 24 months: 2-3x a day depending on body score

7) How to analyze puppy food for your puppy's nutritional requirements

You'll learn how to know you're giving your puppy complete and balanced puppy food (and why you don't want to give your puppy adult food).

8) How to figure out your pup's Daily Energy Requirement

Alicia shares how to size up your puppy's body shape/condition and to use the simple calculator nutritionists use to figure out your individual puppy's daily energy requirement. With that framework, you'll be able to know the calories and nutrients your puppy needs every day to thrive.

9) A canine nutritionist's recommendations for the strongest options for puppy foods

Everyone always asks, so Alicia shares her top 3 recommendations for the best puppy food options for most puppies in descending order.

For all the details and specifics behind this quick overview, you can dive into the full guide here to learn how to feed your puppy for your pup's best health now and beyond.


Recommended Products

Next up in the Life Stage Feeding Channel on Dogly

Now that you know how best to feed your puppy, check out adult dog and senior dog feeding guides if you're ready to learn about what's best when it comes to adult dog food and foods for seniors at those stages as well.

Or you can always continue expanding your nutritional knowledge for your dog in learning which nutrients your dog could be missing in his/her diet or why protein matters and good high-protein food sources.

Hop over to the Life Stage Feeding Channel if you'd like to ask a question in the Community discussion or start any of the step-by-step guides in Puppy Feeding, Adult Feeding, or Senior Feeding.

Cory & Jane of Dogly

Dogly started with our own dogs and quickly became about yours. We want our dogs to live long and we want them to live well, to go where we go and do more together with us. That’s why we created Dogly. To help you live well with your dog.