Even for veteran pet owners, it can still be difficult to gauge just how much a puppy should eat. After all, puppies require different nutritional needs from their adult counterparts. Plus, with larger dog breeds like Golden Retriever puppies, they will require a bit more food than small- and medium-sized puppies.
So, how much should Golden Retriever puppies actually eat on a daily basis? In this article, you can find a detailed guide about feeding Golden Retriever puppies as well as just how much to increase their intake as they grow older.
How Much Should a Golden Retriever Puppy Eat?
Contrary to popular belief, Golden Retrievers shouldn’t be chubby at all. A well-fed puppy should have a lankier body as they will grow faster than they should which can result in bone and joint problems later on due to being overweight.
So, how much should you feed them exactly? Well, this depends on how old your puppy is. If they are around 8 to 10 weeks old, they should be fed 1 ½ cup of high-quality puppy food daily.
This means that if you feed them thrice a day, which is the typical amount for a puppy of that age, they should receive ½ cup every meal time.
As your puppy grows older, you should also gradually increase their food intake as well but lessen the number of times you feed them in a day.
Check out the guide below:
- At 3 months old: 2 cups daily
- At 4 months: 2 ½ cups daily
- At 5 to 6 months: 3 cups daily
- For male puppies at 6 to 7 months: 3 ½ to 4 cups daily
- For female puppies at 6 to 7 months: retain them on 3 cups daily
Of course, this is only a guide and it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your puppy is getting the optimal amount of food every day. Moreover, make sure that your puppy food contains at least 30% of protein and 12-18% fat.
Their calorie intake should decrease as they grow older and bigger but this will depend on the level of activity they have. Moreover, don’t forget to count the calories they intake whenever you give them treats.
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How Often Should You Feed a Golden Retriever Puppy?
As mentioned, when they begin eating solid food at 8 weeks or 2 months, they should have meals thrice a day. However, as they grow older and bigger, mealtimes should be reduced while increasing the amount of food.
For example, once they reach 3 months, they should be fed more but reduce the number of meal times to twice a day.
The ideal times to feed your 2-month old puppy is around 6 to 7 AM, then again at noon, then lastly at around 5 or 6 PM. It’s recommended to avoid feeding them later than 6 PM and giving them water beyond 7 PM to make house training them easier and more convenient.
Upon reaching 3 months, their feeding times should be reduced to twice a day only, once in the morning and once at night. Make sure that you don’t feed them too late into the night as you might find yourself cleaning up a mess the next morning.
How to Know If You’re Feeding Them Too Much?
As mentioned, puppies, especially Golden Retriever puppies, should appear lankier than you’d expect, not chubby.
This means that they should have a slimmer profile wherein you can feel the ribs when you touch them but not see them. They should also have a bit of a waist.
Therefore, overfeeding your puppies can result in several health conditions that will become more apparent as they grow older.
Some of the conditions they can develop due to overfeeding are:
- Rapidly growing bones
- Development issues
- Abdominal pain
They will also end up having shorter lifespans because of ill-health. So, how can you tell when your puppy is being fed too much?
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Dogs, especially puppies, have strong appetites but this doesn’t mean that you should always feed them when they are. Puppies, in general, don’t often recognize that they’re already full so they’ll keep eating as long as the food is readily available.
This can result in them being overweight or sometimes even downright obese which you can tell when they’re too large or heavy for their breed.
Body Condition Score
As mentioned, puppies aren’t supposed to be round and chubby – they have to have a bit of waist to them. Aside from this, you should be able to feel their ribs without seeing them. Their figure should be an hourglass one.
Another indicator that you’re overfeeding them is soft stool. If they have normal stool during the day but have soft stool in the evening, then chances are, you’re overfeeding them. Make sure to always check your puppy’s bowel movements to see if they’re getting the right amount of food for them or not.
How to Know If You’re Not Feeding Them Enough?
While overfeeding can result in various health conditions, so does underfeeding your Golden Retriever puppy. Underfeeding can cause malnutrition which can result in your puppy being unhealthy.
Some of the signs they are underfed are:
One of the most obvious signs that you’re underfeeding your puppy is that they’re so thin that you can see their bones. Some even appear like they’re “skin and bone,” with very little fat on their body. This means that they’re not getting enough nourishment from the food they eat.
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Another indicator that you’re underfeeding your puppy is that they are too small or light for their breed and age. This is also a good indicator of malnutrition but this doesn’t mean that larger, chubbier puppies don’t suffer from malnutrition.
Dogs, especially puppies, tend to have high levels of energy. This is particularly true with Golden Retrievers – a breed known for being highly energetic and playful. So, if you find your puppy looking lethargic, this can be a good indicator that you’re underfeeding them.
Just like with overfeeding, runny stool can be an obvious indicator of underfeeding and malnutrition. This is because runny stools mean that they’re not digesting their food well and therefore, cannot absorb the necessary nutrients in their food.
However, this can also be a sign of a medical condition so it’s best to consult with your veterinarian as well before changing your puppy’s feeding routines.
Dry, Flaky Skin with a Dull Coat of Fur
One of the most beautiful features of a Golden Retriever is their shiny golden coat which is why it’s a good indicator that something’s wrong when they have dry, flaky skin with a dull coat of fur.
This is a good indication that they’re not receiving enough nutrients to keep their fur as shiny and healthy as possible.
Tips on Feeding Your Golden Retriever Puppy
To ensure that your new Golden Retriever puppy is receiving enough nutrition and is as healthy as possible, here are some tips you can follow.
- Once you transition them to kibble, try adding a bit of water to soften the food so they can chew it and allow them to digest the food more easily as well.
- Add wet dog food. Wet food can make the kibble more appealing for puppies, allowing them to eat it more easily. However, don’t forget to count this in your puppy’s calorie intake as well as not doing so can result in overfeeding.
- Check with your veterinarian about the right amount of food to feed your particular puppy. While it was discussed how much you should feed your puppy, it’s still ideal to have them checked by your vet to ensure that you’re feeding them the right amount.
- Stick to high-quality dog food. Similar to humans, it’s best if you give them high-quality dog food that doesn’t have too many fillers as its ingredients. This will keep your puppy healthy and happy, reducing the chances of over- or underfeeding your puppy.
- Count the dog treats as well. Dog treats have calories in them too so ensure that you’re counting them in your puppy’s daily calorie intake. Make sure you don’t feed them too many treats as this can also result in them being overfed.
Golden Retriever puppies require a different amount of food from other breeds which is why it’s recommended that you know how much to feed them at any given time. Moreover, while chubby puppies can be cute, this can be bad for the puppies themselves as overfeeding them can result in various health conditions in the long-term.
Similarly, underfeeding them will result in health conditions as well so it’s best to take into account several aspects when feeding your Golden Retriever puppy such as their age, level of activity, and health status.
Knowing just how much you should feed your Golden Retriever puppy will allow them to grow into healthy adult dogs who can keep you company for a long time.