How To Feed My New Puppy? How Much and When Should I Feed A Puppy

I believe in connecting meals and walks in a puppies* mind. The meals incentivize walks. They make “going out” to the bathroom into a super-eager experience.
Puppies should be let out many times a day.
Each time they are let out they should get some food. It adds a “bonus” to running outside immediately on exit from their crate and helps them to “go to the door” when they want to go out. Housebreaking gets easier and faster when you make ‘going out to do their business’ as fun as eating.
When they go out, they get food.
Among the many times they go out, TWO or THREE of those outside trips includes their MEAL.
I don’t encourage feeding the pups in the crate or on the kitchen floor.
Again, trying to incentivize the front door.

How to “Feed” a Puppy on a Meal Walk?

Just put down 1 cup of food per ten pounds and let them have what they want. They’ll eat pretty diligently, and then get distracted and wander off. That’s fine. And you have two choices.
Decision time: You can encourage them to come back and they WILL eat more except then the stools will soften for overeating.
Or you can just pick up the food and let them eat ‘big’ at the next “meal walk”
This is how their day looks, for example: 
  • 8am Meal Walk (1c / 10 pounds for 5-10 minutes outside) No coaxing to the bowl.
  • 10am Snack Walk (Little bit of their dog food in the bowl for a quick walk outside on the grass.(
  • 12pm Snack Walk
  • 2pm Snack Walk
  • 4pm Snack Walk
  • 6pm Meal Walk  (1c / 10 pounds for 5-10 minutes outside) No coaxing to the bowl.
  • 8pm No Food Walk (Start to let the tract empty out for the night)
  • 10pm No Food Walk
  • Crated for the night.

Keys to note above:

  1. Walking every 2 hours is an impossible ideal, but does hasten training and minimizes mistakes.
  2. “Snack” is a little bit of food that doesn’t rate “meal size” not even close. 
  3. “Their dog food” means just that, not a treat or other thing they might come to ‘expect’ and get spoiled.
* The above applies to puppies at least 5 weeks of age.
Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.