Small breed puppies are often different than larger breeds, not only in height but also in eating habits. On top of that, small breeds are becoming more popular in recent times as more and more people are opting for smaller breeds as they are cute, more family friendly, and easy to carry. But for those who own a small breed puppy for the first time, it is important to find answers to important questions like how much to feed a small breed puppy?
Small breed puppies are different—you cannot make them eat the same stuff you feed to the larger breeds. In this article, we have listed some important facts about feeding a small breed puppy and how to make sure you are providing your dog with high-quality, healthy diet.
Learning about the Nutritional Needs of Small Dogs
To learn about how much to feed a small breed puppy, the first thing you must know is the actual nutrition need of your puppy.
If you have a clear idea about the nutrition needs, you can choose or cook the right amount of food. For a balanced diet, your dog needs vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and minerals to be healthy and in top shape.
The most important ingredient of the perfect dog diet is water. Almost 80% of the puppy’s body is made of water—this is why dogs need clean water after every few hours. If you are feeding your dog with dry food, it needs more water compared to moist diet.
Protein is another important ingredient as it is the basic building block for developing tissues, nerves, muscles, hair and almost all other organs. As puppies are still growing, they need a lot of protein to ensure healthy growth into an adult dog.
A diet of the small breed puppy must contain at least 29% protein by weight, according to the National Research Council. The major sources of protein in the dog’s diet are meat, eggs, and fish. Protein can also be obtained from grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Carbohydrates are also important as they provide energy to the dogs and assures health function of the intestinal tract.
The common sources of the carbohydrates in dog food are oats, barley, wheat, rice, and corn. A balanced quantity of fiber also keeps the digestive system healthy.
Vitamins are also necessary to assist in the metabolic process within the dog’s body. When buying dog food for your small breed, make sure the dog is getting enough vitamin A, D, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, vitamin 6, B8, B9, B12, and vitamin C.
Minerals are also essential for healthy growth of small breed puppies. Your dog needs a few trace minerals like Cobalt, Fluoride, Magnesium, Boron, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Iron, iodine, and Silicon.
On the other hand, a dog needs few minerals in larger quantity as well that include sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, and calcium.
How Much to Feed a Small Breed Puppy: Some Important Facts
When feeding small dog breed, keep these facts in mind.
- Small dog puppies grow with much faster rate than larger dogs breeds as they achieve maturity and adult body much earlier. This means, smaller breeds need more protein and fats to assist with their faster growth.
- Small dogs also have a faster metabolism which means you have to feed them more frequently compared to larger breeds.
- As they have smaller stomachs, they also need smaller portions but more frequently.
- Until they are six months old, the best diet frequency is three to four times a day for small dogs.
- Dry foods can be introduced by 12 to 13 weeks for small breeds, a duration that is only 9 to 10 weeks for larger breeds.
First Six Weeks
For the first six to eight weeks, it is important that the puppy is with the mother and have mother’s milk. The mother’s milk not only provides with the necessary nutrition, but it also provides antibodies that develop a healthy immune system.
In case keeping the puppy with the mother is not possible, you may use bottles and milk replacers to feed the puppy.
Moving On With Solid Food: 6 to 12 Weeks
After the first 6 weeks, puppies can be introduced to solid food. At this age, puppies need nutrient-, vitamin-, and protein-rich food. If you are buying from the market instead of cooking on your own, buy puppy food which is nutrition heavy.
As smaller breeds puppies have small stomachs but faster metabolism, make sure the kibble size is small, portions are smaller but more frequent, at least 4 times a day.
3 to 6 Months
After the first three months, you can decrease the frequency from 4 times a day to 3 times a day with slightly larger portions. At this age, you can also introduce unmoistened dry food.
6 to 12 Months
Smaller breeds can switch to adult maintenance food at the age of 7 or 8 months, but for adult breeds, the transition period is at 12 to 14 month. But do not hurry in switching to adult food. It is better to start late instead of too early.
After one year of age, almost all puppies start feeding adult food, mostly two to three portions a day.
The food intake is directly proportional to the weight of the puppy as well.
- If the weight is five lbs, the daily intake is between 50g to 65g.
- If the weight is 10 lbs, the daily intake is between 75g to 100g.
- If the weight is 20 lbs, the daily intake is between 130g to 180g.
- If the weight is 40 lbs, the daily intake is between 230g to 305g.
All in all, if you know the few basics, you can easily provide healthy food to your cute little small breed puppy. Just make sure to provide food three to four times a day, in smaller portions, and in no circumstances feed your puppies with adult maintenance food. Make sure you are always feeding them with puppy food at least for the first seven to eight months.
Happy feeding your puppy!