How much should you feed a 8 week old puppy?

Determining the right amount to feed a growing puppy can be tricky. Puppies have very different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and feeding them appropriately is important for their health and development. At 8 weeks old, puppies are still babies and require several small meals spread throughout the day. Feed amounts will vary based on the puppy’s breed, size, and activity level, but there are general guidelines to follow.

Feeding Guidelines for 8 Week Old Puppies

Most experts recommend feeding an 8 week old puppy 4 times per day. Puppies have small stomachs and high metabolisms, so they can only eat a small amount at one time. Spreading food intake throughout the day allows them to get the calories and nutrients they need for growth and development.

As a general guideline, the daily recommended intake for an 8 week old puppy is around 1⁄2 cup to 1 cup of high quality puppy food per pound of expected adult weight. So for a puppy expected to weigh 30 lbs as an adult, you would feed 15-30 cups per day total, divided into 4 meals.

Here are some daily feeding amount guidelines based on expected adult weights:

  • 5 lbs adult weight: 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup per day total
  • 10 lbs adult weight: 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup per day total
  • 20 lbs adult weight: 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 cups per day total
  • 30 lbs adult weight: 1 to 11⁄2 cups per day total
  • 40 lbs adult weight: 11⁄2 to 2 cups per day total
  • 50 lbs adult weight: 2 to 21⁄2 cups per day total
  • 60 lbs adult weight: 21⁄2 to 3 cups per day total
  • 70 lbs adult weight: 3 to 31⁄2 cups per day total
  • 80 lbs adult weight: 31⁄2 to 4 cups per day total
  • 90 lbs adult weight: 4 to 41⁄2 cups per day total
  • 100 lbs adult weight: 41⁄2 to 5 cups per day total

These amounts should be divided into 4 meals spaced evenly throughout the day. Puppies should be fed at around the same times each day to help develop a consistent feeding schedule.

Factors That Influence Puppy Feeding Amounts

While the guidelines above provide a good starting point, there are several factors that can influence how much you should actually feed your 8 week old puppy.

Breed Size

Expected adult breed size is a major factor. Very small breed puppies around 5 lbs full grown require less food than large breed puppies expected to weigh 80-100 lbs as adults. Giant breed puppies especially need careful feeding, as allowing them to grow too quickly can lead to bone and joint problems later on.

Individual Variation

Even within a litter, individual puppies may grow at different rates. Some puppies may be naturally lean, while others are more food motivated. Pay attention to your puppy’s body condition score and adjust amounts accordingly to keep them at an ideal weight.

Level of Activity

Puppies that get more exercise and playtime may need slightly more food to account for increased energy expenditure. Working breed puppies and those from active lines often need more calories than typical pet puppies of the same size.

Health Conditions

Medical issues like parasites, diarrhea, vomiting or infection can all increase caloric needs short term. Seek veterinary advice if your puppy has any health concerns that are affecting their appetite or growth.

Quality of Food

Feed amounts may need adjusting based on the caloric density of the puppy food. Some specialist puppy foods are very calorie-dense, so read labels carefully and feed less if using a very high quality food.

Choosing a Puppy Food

Your puppy’s food can impact their growth and development in big ways. It’s important to choose a food designed specifically for puppies, not just a generic adult dog food. Here’s what to look for in a good puppy food:

  • A statement from an organization like AAFCO that food is formulated to meet nutritional levels for growth.
  • At least 22% protein from high quality animal sources like chicken, lamb or fish.
  • At least 8% fat from animal sources.
  • Contains DHA for brain development.
  • Has the proper levels of calcium and phosphorous for bone growth – excess amounts can be harmful.
  • No artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
  • No fillers like corn, wheat, soy or by-products.

Look for a puppy food formulated specifically for your pup’s size – large breed vs small breed puppy blends have different nutritional requirements. For large breeds prone to joint issues, look for a puppy food labelled as being for “large breed puppies”

Monitoring Growth and Adjusting Amounts

To make sure your puppy is getting the right amount of food, you’ll need to monitor their growth and body condition and make adjustments as needed. Weigh your puppy once a week – they should gain around 2-4 lbs per week on average. You can also feel their ribs – they should not be visible but easily felt with light pressure. Adjust amounts up or down by 1/4 cup per day if your puppy is growing too quickly or slowly.

If you switch to a different brand or type of food, transition slowly over 4-7 days, adjusting amounts to account for differences in calories. Sudden food changes can cause digestive upset.

Every puppy is different, so be prepared to make tweaks to get their feeding regimen just right. Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your puppy’s growth, body condition or appetite.

Feeding Tips

Getting your puppy into a consistent feeding routine will help them thrive. Here are some tips:

  • Feed at the same times every day – such as 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm
  • Use scheduled mealtimes, not free feeding
  • Provide fresh water at all times
  • Divide daily food into equal portions in 4 meals
  • Use proper puppy-sized bowls
  • Supervise meals for safety
  • Pick up uneaten food within 15-20 minutes
  • Avoid overfeeding treats or people food

Common Puppy Feeding Questions

How often should an 8 week old puppy eat?

Most experts recommend feeding an 8 week old puppy 4 times per day. Their small stomachs cannot hold large volumes at once, so frequent small meals are ideal.

Is it okay to free-feed my 8 week old puppy?

Free feeding, or leaving food out all the time, is generally not recommended for 8 week old puppies. They do best with set mealtimes for structure. Free feeding makes it hard to monitor appetite and growth.

Should I feed my 8 week old puppy a large breed puppy food?

For larger breeds like Labradors or German Shepherds expected to weigh over 50 lbs as adults, a specially formulated large breed puppy food is a good idea. These support a slower, steady growth rate to prevent bone and joint issues.

What is the best puppy food to buy?

Look for a puppy food that is high in protein from quality animal sources, has added DHA for brain development, is tailored to your puppy’s expected adult size, and is made by a reputable brand without fillers or artificial additives.

Is it okay to switch puppy foods?

You can switch foods, but make changes gradually over 4-7 days, mixing old and new food together to avoid digestive upset. Only switch to another high quality puppy formula.

Should I give my puppy nutritional supplements?

Feeding a balanced commercial or homemade puppy diet usually eliminates the need for extra supplements. Speak to your veterinarian before giving your puppy any supplements.

Can I make my own puppy food at home?

Homemade diets are challenging to formulate properly. They require following recipes developed by veterinary nutritionists and providing exact amounts of nutrients needed for growth. Feeding commercial puppy food is easier for most owners.

Weaning and Introducing Solid Food

By 8 weeks old, a puppy should be fully weaned from their mother’s milk and eating solid food. Here are some tips for smoothly transitioning puppies over to solid food:

  • Start offering puppy formula or wet food mixed with milk around 3-4 weeks old.
  • Gradually decrease milk and increase puppy food consistency from mushy to solid kibble between 4-8 weeks as the puppy starts naturally nursing less.
  • Mix a little warm water or puppy milk replacer into dry kibble to soften it initially.
  • Provide small amounts of food frequently, letting the puppy graze and get used to new textures and flavors.
  • Keep introducing new puppy foods slowly to develop a varied palate.

By 6-8 weeks old the transition to solid foods should be complete. Monitor puppies closely when weaning to ensure they are getting adequate nutrition for growth and weight gain.

Common Puppy Feeding Mistakes

Feeding a puppy appropriately helps set them up for a lifetime of good health. Avoid these common feeding mistakes:

  • Not following portion or frequency guidelines for age and size.
  • Allowing puppy to become overweight or grow too rapidly.
  • Feeding adult dog food instead of specially formulated puppy food.
  • Switching foods suddenly instead of transitioning over a week.
  • Free feeding instead of meal feeding.
  • Overusing treats and people food.
  • Not feeding enough protein or fat for growth needs.
  • Forgetting to adjust amounts as puppy ages.
  • Not keeping to a consistent feeding schedule.

Signs Your Puppy Isn’t Eating Enough

Make sure your puppy is getting sufficient nutrition by keeping an eye out for these signs of inadequate caloric intake:

  • Weight loss or failure to gain weight normally
  • Ribs, spine and hips easily visible
  • Loss of energy, lethargy
  • Unwillingness to play or interact
  • Soft stool or diarrhea
  • Crying or whining from hunger
  • Chewing behaviors looking for food
  • Eating non-food items out of hunger

If you notice any of these, try increasing the puppy’s daily feeding amount by 1/4 cup at a time until their growth and energy improve. Seek veterinary advice if appetite does not improve within a few days on increased food.

Signs Your Puppy is Eating Too Much

Overfeeding can also cause issues for a growing puppy. Watch for these signs of overconsumption:

  • Rapid weight gain or obvious obesity
  • Bulging stomach after eating
  • Excessive lethargy or sleepiness after meals
  • Heavy panting without exercise
  • Difficulty moving or excessive clumsiness
  • Gagging or coughing during or after meals
  • Fat deposits on body at young age

If your puppy displays these signs, reduce daily feeding amounts by 1/4 cup at a time until their weight stabilizes. Consult your vet if puppy seems constantly hungry even on appropriate portions.

Puppy Feeding Schedule Example

An example feeding schedule for an 8 week old medium-sized breed puppy expected to weigh around 50 lbs as an adult might look something like this:

Time Amount
8:00 am 1⁄2 cup puppy food
12:00 noon 1⁄2 cup puppy food
4:00 pm 1⁄2 cup puppy food
8:00 pm 1⁄2 cup puppy food

This provides 2 cups total per day split into 4 equal feedings. The amount fed can be adjusted up or down based on the individual puppy’s growth, body condition and activity levels.

Making Feeding Time Fun

Here are some tips to make your puppy’s mealtimes positive and enriching:

  • Hand feed part of the meal for bonding
  • Use food dispensing toys to make your puppy “work” for food
  • Give part of the meal in a snuffle mat or puzzle feeder
  • Place kibble around the yard or house for a puppy treasure hunt
  • Combine dry kibble with a spoonful of canned food or broth
  • Use different textured mixing bowls – stainless steel, ceramic, rubber
  • Occasionally feed meals outside or in different locations

Making your puppy use their nose and brain to get their food keeps them stimulated and engaged at mealtime. This helps reinforce good eating habits!


Feeding an 8 week old puppy the right amount of nutritious food in a consistent schedule is crucial for their growth and development. Use the guidelines provided here based on expected adult size, adjusting as needed based on your individual puppy’s condition. Weigh your puppy weekly and monitor their body condition to make sure they are growing at an ideal rate. Provide small portioned meals 4 times daily using scheduled mealtimes in place of free feeding. Choose a high quality puppy formula made for your pup’s size. With the right diet and feeding routine, your puppy will be off to a great nutritional start!

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