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Puppy feedingAND NUTRITION

As puppies are growing rapidly, and their digestive and immune systems are developing slowly, they have very specific nutritional needs that are different from adult dogs. Feeding your puppy a nutritionally complete diet tailored to their specific needs is vital for supporting healthy development and laying the foundation for a healthy future.

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Why your PUPPY'S DIET IS SO IMPORTANT

Puppies go through intense growth and development. Their diet plays a key role in supporting this and is crucial in influencing how strong and healthy your puppy is as an adult dog.

How your puppy's NUTRITIONAL NEEDS CHANGE

A puppy’s dietary needs change at each stage as they move towards adulthood, which different breeds reach at different ages. To make sure that your puppy is appropriately supported throughout growth, they is appropriately supported throughout growth, they should remain on a puppy-specific diet until they reach adulthood.

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  • ONE MONTH OLD
  • TWO TO FOUR MONTHS OLD
  • FOUR TO SEVEN MONTHS
  • 10 MONTHS TO ADULTHOOD
ONE MONTH OLD

ONE MONTH OLD

At one month, a puppy can start to be gradually weaned from its mother’s milk onto solid food. They need nutrients to build their natural defenses and promote good bacteria in their delicate digestive system.

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TWO TO FOUR MONTHS OLD

TWO TO FOUR MONTHS OLD

At this stage, the focus is on supporting the development of your puppy’s skeletal structure with carefully regulated amounts of calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D.

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FOUR TO SEVEN MONTHS

FOUR TO SEVEN MONTHS

Your puppy’s starting to build its body mass at this age and needs plenty of high-quality protein that’s easy to digest.

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10 MONTHS TO ADULTHOOD

10 MONTHS TO ADULTHOOD

As puppies approach adulthood, they still need extra nutritional support for their joints, especially larger breeds as their muscles are filling out and putting pressure on their skeleton.

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When does you PUPPY BECOME AN ADULT DOG ?

AVERAGE
ADULT WEIGHT
GROWTH DURATION
(BIRTH TO ADULTHOOD)
X-SMALL Up to 4kg 8/10 months
SMALL Up to 10kg 8/10 months
MEDIUM 11-25kg 12 months
lARGE 24-44KG 15 months
GIANT 45kg and more 18/24 months

Nutrients needed IN A PUPPY'S DIET

There are a range of vital nutrients that your puppy needs during the first months of life to aid healthy growth and development. A puppy's diet must be able to provide enough energy and quality protein to support growth and be easily digestible. ROYAL CANIN® diets are nutritionally balanced to offer a tailored diet to meet the needs of puppies of all sizes, lifestyles and breeds.

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ROYAL CANIN'SSCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO PUPPY NUTRITION

We specialize in health nutrition because, for us, puppy foo isn't just about providing energy. its about building and maintaining the body's cell protecting against diseases and preventing digestive, joint and age related issues.

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1/4 A fine nutritional balance

Finding a great vet you can trust, who'll help your puppy grow into a healthy adult, is an important aspect of being a pet owner. It's best to find one before you collect your puppy because they may need a check-up a day or two after they arrive.

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2/4 Highly palatable

Puppies are sensitive to smells and texture but have a less well-developed sense of taste. To make our formulas as appealing as possible, we:

  • • Select ingredients rigorously for their odour, density and texture as well as nutritional quality.
  • • Design kibble texture, shape and size to suit each size of dog.
  • • Preserve formulas.

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3/4 Easily digested

Puppies have sensitive digestive systems. So we ensure our formulas are highly digestible to help avoid stomach upsets and make it easier for your puppy to absorb the nutrients.

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4/4 High safety standards

We apply the same hygiene rules as for human food and prepare puppy food to the highest standards of quality and safety.

Our Puppy Ranges

Royal Canin Puppy supports healthy growth and development by providing all the nutrients essential to their needs in the first year of life.

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How much shouldI FEED MY PUPPY?

Puppies have different nutritional needs according to their breed and eventual adult size. Ask your vet for help checking the expected adult weight of your puppy according to their breeding. You can then choose the right food for them and make sure you give it to them in the right quantities.

What are the size categories for dogs?

Dogs are categorized in five different sizes:

  • X-small - up to 4kg when adult
  • Small - up to 10kg when adult 
  • Medium - 11kg to 25kg when adult 
  • Large - 26kg to 44kg when adult 
  • Giant - over 45kg when adult 
Why is puppy food tailored to adult dog sizes?

Breeds of different sizes have different needs as puppies. For example:

  • X-small and small breeds have weaker jaws and smaller teeth so need food that's the right size and texture. 
  • Medium breeds tend to be more active outdoors so need plenty of energy and helping building their natural defences. 
  • Large and giant breeds grow slower and need less energy per kilo of bodyweight than small breeds. 
What if I give food designed for different sized breeds?

Without taking your puppy's expected adult size into account, it's easy to feed them too much or too little. Underfeeding can lead to issues including malnutrition and stunted growth. While overfeeding can make your puppy overweight, which can cause painful bone and joint problems, difficulty breathing and more. 

Does portion size matter for puppies?

Puppies don't know how to regulate their food intake, so it's important you control their portions to avoid them becoming overweight. This is particularly crucial for large breed dogs, as overfeeding can cause them to grow too quickly and develop skeletal problems. 

Always refer to the portion recommendations on the pack and weigh each meal carefully. Remember that the quantity stated is usually a daily recommended amount, so you'll need to split this across your puppy's meals. Any treats you give your puppy should be included in this daily amount too - it's easy to overfeed with rewards

Setting the rightPUPPY FEEDING SCHEDULE

Puppies have small stomachs and their immature digestive systems don’t react well to being overloaded. To avoid your puppy suffering from disorders such as diarrhoea, it’s best to split their daily recommended food portion into small meals throughout the day.

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X-SMALL OR SMALL BREEDS

  • Up to 4 months3 meals a day
  • 4 to 10 months2 meals a day
  • Adult1-2 meals a day
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X-SMALL OR SMALL BREEDS

  • Up to 4 months3 meals a day
  • 4 to 10 months2 meals a day
  • Adult1-2 meals a day
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X-SMALL OR SMALL BREEDS

  • Up to 4 months3 meals a day
  • 4 to 10 months2 meals a day
  • Adult1-2 meals a day

How a puppy'sFEEDING SCHEDULE CHANGES

Initially, during weaning, your puppy will need four meals a day spread evenly from morning to evening. By the time they reach adulthood, they’ll be able to cope with one or two meals daily.

Smaller breed dogs reach adulthood sooner than others, so they can move to fewer meals a day at an earlier stage. Below is a guide according to your puppy’s expected adult size. But it’s always worth checking with your vet about the best feeding schedule for your individual puppy.

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Puppies thrive on routine and don't need variety in their diet like humans do. To help them feel secure, and avoid upsetting their digestion, give them the same food, preferably at the same times, in the same place, using the same bowl.

What is MIXED FEEDING FOR PUPPIES?

Mixed feeding is when you give your puppy a combination of wet and dry food – either at the same time or at separate meals, but never in the same bowl. They both offer important benefits such as wet food helping with hydration and appealing to picky eaters. While dry food can slow down fast eaters.

Benefits OF MIXED FEEDING

HYDRATION

In dry foods, the moisture content is around 8%, while in wet foods, this is usually at least 75%.

PALATABILITY

Our wet formulas are designed to be highly appealing to the fussiest of puppies.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

Wet food’s high moisture content means you can serve a larger portion for the same number of calories.

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When should I BEGIN MIXED FEEDING?

Puppies can start mixed feeding at any time, but introducing them to variety at an early age may avoid fussy behavior's in adulthood. A dog's digestive tract becomes accustomed to the composition and type of food. So when starting a mixed feeding method, it’s important to gradually introduce the dietary changes.

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1/3 How much should my puppy drink?

The amount your puppy needs to drink depends on factors including the environmental temperature and their size, exercise levels, physical condition and diet. A puppy fed dry kibbles (which contain around 10% water will need to drink more than one fed with wet food (which contains at least 75% water).

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2/3 Should I leave water out for my puppy?

The best way to ensure your puppy drinks the right amount is to give them constant access to fresh water. Change the water in their bowls daily to keep it clean and top it up throughout the day. Also wash their bowls daily to prevent parasites breeding in them.

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3/3 Encouraging puppies to drink

As well as putting a water bowl near your puppy's food, place a few around the house in calm areas. Then they always have the opportunity to drink in a quiet place. Make sure the water bowls aren't too big for your puppy to avoid them stepping into them. And avoid plastic water bowls as they can harbour off-putting smells and bacteria - ceramic or stainless steel bowls are best.

GOOD FEEDING HABITS FOR YOUR PUPPY

Feeding your puppy can feel stressful, especially if you're facing problems such as them refusing to eat or eating too quickly. Here are some good habits to establish straightaway to help your puppy build positive associations with feeding times and get the nutrients they need.

  • What
  • When
  • How

MAINTAIN PORTION CONTROL

To avoid overfeeding your puppy, check the dietary guidelines on the food packaging and measure each portion carefully. Remember the stated amounts apply for the whole day, not per meal.

AVOID HUMAN FOOD

Dogs have different nutritional needs from humans and what’s good for us can cause serious stomach upsets in dogs. Giving your puppy scraps or hand feeding can also cause bad behaviors.

BE CAREFUL WITH TREATS

A treat must always form part of your puppy’s overall daily food allowance to avoid overfeeding. Limit how many you give and always offer them at the right time for the right reason.

Limit activity before and after feeding

To prevent stomach upsets, try to avoid your puppy jumping about for an hour or two after eating. And don't feed them straight after they've been very active.

Feed your puppy after you

As dogs are pack animals, they need to know the hierarchy. To show your puppy that you and your family are in the dominant position, feed them once you've eaten.

BE CAREFUL WITH TREATS

A treat must always form part of your puppy’s overall daily food allowance to avoid overfeeding. Limit how many you give and always offer them at the right time for the right reason.

Keep feeding times calm

Distractions can put your puppy off their food, so keep their feeding area quiet. Watch them while they're eating to check they're safe, but don't fuss over them - it can cause protective behaviour.

Set the pace

If your puppy bolts their food, try a slow-feed bowl or feeding puzzle. Even if they're a slow eater, remove the bowl after 15 to 20 minutes so they don't slip into snacking habits

BE CAREFUL WITH TREATS

A treat must always form part of your puppy’s overall daily food allowance to avoid overfeeding. Limit how many you give and always offer them at the right time for the right reason.

How to change YOUR PUPPY'S FOOD

Sudden changes in your puppy’s diet can give them digestive upsets or even make them wary of their food. Whether you’re switching to adult food, changing products or beginning mixed feeding, it’s important to introduce new foods slowly. We recommend you do this during a week-long transition using the following proportions:

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DAY 1 AND 2:

75% previous food

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25% new food

DAY 3 AND 4:

50% previous food

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50% new food

DAY 5 AND 6:

25% previous food

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75% new food

DAY 7:

100% new food

Puppy FEEDING FAQS

How much food should a puppy eat?

The amount of food your puppy needs depends on the size they’ll grow into as an adult – x-small, small, medium, large or giant. Make sure you choose the right puppy food according to their expected adult size and always follow the portion recommendations on the pack.

When should I stop feeding puppy food?

A puppy needs to continue eating specialist puppy food until they’ve fully transitioned into adulthood. For smaller breeds this can be as early as eight months, but for larger breeds it can be up to two years. Check with your vet to make sure your puppy’s ready to move onto adult food.

When can puppies eat dry food?

Puppies can start to eat dry kibbles when weaning, which begins at around four or five weeks. But to make them easier for very small puppies to eat and digest, it’s best to soften them with water initially.

What foods are poisonous for a puppy?

Many of the foods that are healthy or enjoyable for us can be poisonous for dogs and puppies. These include, but aren’t limited to: cooked bones, fatty foods, chocolate, coffee, almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, onions, some mushrooms, avocados, raw potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, spinach, apricots, peaches, cherries, grapes, raisins and rhubarb.

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Puppy FEEDING QUIZ

Test your knowledge and find out how much you've learnt by taking our quiz

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Our Puppy Ranges

Find a nutritionally complete diet tailored to the precise needs of your puppy.

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