The right amount of calories and nutrients are critical for your puppy’s growth and development. They are the foundation of good health. The breeder may have recommended frequent, similarly-sized meals during the day. However, it’s not a lifelong diet, which is why you should transition to fewer ones as your pup gets older.
There are several reasons that are essential to understand to ensure your pet gets the best start in life. Your pet’s needs are dynamic and will change as he matures, explaining the dietary changes you should make for when to switch puppy to 2 meals a day.
There are four life stages that affect your pup’s nutritional needs: puppy, adult, pregnancy/lactating, and senior. The one in which your pet is in affects how many times you feed him. The transition to two meals occurs during puppyhood to adulthood.
Puppies need more frequent meals as they grow. The food you give your pet will supply the building blocks for his development. Growth happens relatively fast, which explains the meal frequency. You’re likely feeding him three to four meals a day at first to ensure that there’s enough fuel in the tank to support development.
However, it’s also about what your pet gets. Puppies have higher nutritional needs for protein, fat, and other nutrients. That’s reflected in the makeup of their food and the concentration of nutrients.
For example, puppies need 21.3 grams of fat per day versus the 13.8 grams for adults. Feeding it all in one meal will likely cause gastrointestinal distress. Dividing it over three or four meals makes it easier for your pup to digest. It also supplies a steady supply of digestible energy throughout the day.
Offering an adult the same amount of fat would likely lead to obesity. These dogs might also find these diets too rich, with similar results. Therefore, the transition to two meals makes sense on several scores if just for the fact that your pet needs less of these nutrients.
The best way to gauge your pup’s weight is by monitoring his body condition. If you look down at your dog from overhead, you’ll notice a defined waistline. You’ll also be able to feel your pet’s ribs without them seeming bony.
Staying on an Even Keel
Another reason for a puppy’s feeding schedule is to keep his blood sugar stable. Growth takes a lot of energy, which can easily tap his glucose levels. The frequency helps to avoid the dips and spikes in your pet’s blood sugar to prevent hypoglycemia.
Small dogs are more susceptible than larger ones. You may find that your Chihuahua does best on a diet of frequent meals as a result. His development stage is a vital factor in determining when it’s best to dial back to two meals a day. However, other things also come to play that also have a critical influence.
Other Factors to Consider
When talking about diet, we can make some generalizations. However, puppies vary considerably, depending on their size, diet, and other inherited factors. You can influence some of them, but others are hardwired.
Small breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranians, mature more rapidly than large ones, like Great Danes and Newfoundlands. That’s true, in part, because of their size. They need more fuel to support their stature and, thus, grow slower than their smaller canine friends.
The breed also plays a role in how much you feed your pet and its nutritional needs. The fact remains that manufacturers formulate diets based on the development rate. Therefore, a Papillion will transition to an adult food with its accompanying feeding schedule earlier than a Golden Retriever.
Whereas small dogs mature at about 9 months old, a large breed may not reach that same milestone until he is 16 months old or more.
Activity levels have a significant influence over your pet’s diet. Less energetic breeds, such as Bulldogs, have lower caloric needs than a more spirited one, like an Alaskan Malamute. It often goes back to the breed’s history and purpose.
Hunting dogs often need large energy stores to do their job. You may find that if your pet is very active, you may need to feed him more frequently than a companion animal that spends his days as a lap dog. As with people, activity and intake go hand in hand.
Two Meals for Life
Genetics is also on the table when it comes to some health risks and diet. Breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes, are highly susceptible to a potentially life-threatening condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) or bloat.
Swallowing a lot of air when gulping food can cause the dog’s stomach to twist upon itself, creating a medical emergency. Feeding your pet twice a day even as an adult is an effective way to prevent it. That means the transition from multiple meals to two times a day is a lifelong dietary schedule.
The Adult Diet
The answer to when to feed your puppy two meals a day is around six months, taking into account his breed, age, health risks, and activity level. We strongly urge you to have a set schedule at the same time each day instead of free-feeding your pet.
It’s an essential plan if your dog is susceptible to bloat. It can also help prevent excessive weight gain caused by overeating. The other thing to bear in mind is your dog’s health. A poor appetite is often an early sign of illness. Two meals a day is a healthier option for any active dog.
Feeding your puppy frequent meals serves a vital purpose in your pet’s young life. It supplies the energy to fuel growth and development. Once your pup has matured, he doesn’t need to eat as often. The timing depends on several factors, depending on your pet’s genetics and activity level. Two meals offers several health benefits.
Of course, a well-rounded diet is only the start of ensuring a good quality of life for your pet. You can make sure he’s getting all the exercise he needs with Fi.