Feeding your pet

How do you determine how much food and how often you should be feeding your new friend?

Animals that become overweight are more susceptible to major health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, heart and respiratory disease, kidney disease, cancer and more. A regular feeding schedule and nutrient-rich food can keep your pet healthy and your veterinarian costs low.

Puppies (up to 6 months old): 

  • Dry puppy food is recommended.
  • Remove any uneaten food after 15-20 minutes. Don’t let your puppy snack all day — regular feeding times establish regular elimination patterns.
  • Feed your puppy four times a day until six months of age, then twice a day after that.
  • Feed your puppy as much as will be eaten in 10-15 minute intervals. If overeating occurs, offer smaller, more frequent meals.
  • If your puppy doesn't eat within 24 hours, offer canned food (plain chicken or beef), then start mixing with dry over the next several days.
  • Wash and refill the water bowl daily, keeping fresh water available at all times.
  • Provide foods listed as “nutritionally complete.”
  • Never give milk, table scraps, or bones to your puppy.
  • If your puppy or adult dog hasn’t eaten for more than 24 hours, even after being offered canned food, contact your veterinarian.

Dogs (6 months or older): 

  • Adult dogs should be fed no more than twice a day.
  • Put the food bowl on the floor for 15 minutes and then remove it, whether your dog has eaten or not. Don’t feed anything until the next mealtime. An adult dog won’t refuse to eat long enough to cause physical harm.
  • Dry food is recommended. You may provide canned food, but it will cost more and your dog may require more frequent dental care. Avoid extremely rich varieties of canned food as they may cause diarrhea.
  • Provide foods listed as “nutritionally complete.”
  • “Free feeding" isn’t recommended — it’s difficult to monitor how much your pet is eating, and some hearty eaters will become obese.
  • Regular eating times will help a dog establish regular elimination patterns.
  • Slowly cut back on food if your dog is overweight and consider various "light" or diet foods designed for less active dogs.
  • Don’t panic if your dog eats poorly for a few days after arrival. Stick with the same dry food. Add some canned food if nothing else is working, but stay away from table scraps.
  • Wash and refill the water bowl daily, keeping fresh water available at all times.

Source: Animal Humane Society