Craft Your Pup's Perfect Diet Chart: A Puppy Nutrition Guide

Written by: Karuna Subbiah



Time to read 13 min

Congratulations on your new furry friend! Now comes the exciting (and sometimes confusing) world of puppy nutrition .

Don't worry, Supertails is here to be your pawsome guide. This blog tackles everything you need to know about creating a puppy diet chart , including a puppy feeding schedule and the essential nutrients for optimal growth.

As a new puppy parent, one of the most crucial responsibilities you'll have is ensuring your furry companion receives the right nutrition for optimal growth and development.

A well-planned puppy diet chart and puppy feeding schedule can set the foundation for a lifetime of good health and happiness for your pup.

This blog is a general guideline towards the first step in understanding the nutrition for your puppy friend and planning a diet chart.

Puppy Diet Decoded: Why Does It Matter?

puppy sitting with dog bowl

Just like us humans, puppies thrive on a balanced diet. Proper nutrition fuels their incredible growth spurts, strengthens their developing immune systems, and keeps their brains bright. Understanding  what to feed a puppy  and  how much to feed a puppy  sets the stage for a healthy and happy life.

By providing your dog with the proper nutrients, you can prevent various health issues and ensure they maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Long-Term Benefits of a Balanced Diet for Puppy

Three puppies eating from dog bowl

A balanced diet for puppies pays off in the long run. It can:

  1. Support rapid growth and development: 

  • Proper nutrition is vital for puppies during their rapid growth phase, ensuring healthy development of all bodily systems and organs.

  • Inadequate nutrition at this stage can stunt growth and cause developmental issues.

  1. Build strong bones and muscles: 

  • A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins is crucial for puppies to develop strong bones and muscles.

  • These nutrients support proper bone formation, mineralization, and muscle growth.

  • Deficiencies during this stage can result in skeletal deformities, joint issues, and muscle weakness.

  1. Develop a healthy immune system: 

  • Proper nutrition is crucial for puppies as it strengthens their developing immune systems.

  • Essential vitamins like A, minerals such as zinc, and antioxidants support immune function by neutralising harmful free radicals, reducing oxidative stress.

  • A balanced diet rich in these nutrients helps build a strong immune system for puppies.

  1. Ensure proper brain and cognitive development: 

  • Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, choline, and B vitamins, are vital for the proper development of a puppy's brain and cognitive function.

  • These nutrients support the formation of neural connections, memory, and learning abilities.

  • Inadequate nutrition during this critical stage can lead to cognitive deficits and impaired brain development.

  1. Prevent nutritional deficiencies and related health issues: 

  • Puppies require a balanced diet with the right proportions of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to meet their specific nutritional needs.

  • Skimping on quality nutrition during this stage can lead to various deficiencies, which can manifest as health issues like anaemia, poor growth, skeletal deformities, skin and coat problems, and even organ dysfunction.

Going through a quality nutritional plan during this initial critical stage helps in creating a long term benefit, making a well balanced puppy diet plan essential. 

What are the Unique Nutritional Requirements of Puppies?

 puppy eating dog food

Puppies have specific nutritional needs that differ from adult dogs due to their rapid growth and development. Their diet must be tailored to provide the right balance of essential nutrients, including:

1. Protein

Choosing a  protein rich diet for puppies  plays an important component for growth and development. Protein is a crucial nutrient for puppies as it supports:

  • Muscle development

  • Tissue repair and growth

  • Enzyme and hormone production

  • Immune function

Recommended Sources of Protein for Puppies

High-quality protein sources for puppies include: (choose puppy food with):

  • Lean meats (chicken, mutton)

  • Fish (Rohu, Katla, Pomfret)

  • Eggs (Quail eggs for smaller breeds)

  • Dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese)

2. Fat

Fats help in energy production and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Fats provide energy and aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K , which are essential for growth and development.

Recommended Sources of Fat for Puppies

Healthy fat sources for puppies include:

  • Fish oils (sardine, cod-liver, mackerel)

  • Plant-based oils (coconut, groundnut, and sunflower)

  • Dairy (full-fat curd, Ghee)

  • Egg yolks and nuts and seeds (in moderation)

3. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are another form of energy source for puppies. Carbohydrates serve as a primary energy source for puppies' high metabolic demands and support various bodily functions.

Recommended Sources of Carbohydrates for Puppies

Wholesome carbohydrate sources for puppies include:

  • Whole grains (brown rice, oats, jowar)

  • Vegetables (sweet potatoes, beetroots, carrots)

  • Fruits (papayas, apples, bananas)

4. Vitamins

Vitamins act as one of the important factors in providing for immunity function, growth, and development. Vitamins play crucial roles in supporting immune function, growth, and overall development in puppies.

Recommended Sources of Vitamins for Puppies

Vitamin-rich foods for puppies include:

  • Leafy green vegetables (spinach, methi leaves)

  • Fruits (amla, Guava, tomatoes)

  • Organ meats (chicken liver, mutton liver)

  • Dairy products (yogurt, cottage-cheese)

5. Minerals

Minerals play a major role in bone and teeth development, muscle function, and more. Minerals are essential for puppies as they support bone and teeth development, muscle function, enzyme production, and metabolic processes.

Recommended Sources of Minerals for Puppies

Good sources of minerals for puppies include:

  • Whole grains (brown rice, millet, whole wheat)

  • Leafy green vegetables (spinach, mustard greens, amaranth greens)

  • Dairy products (paneer, vegetable oil with Vitamin E)

  • Organ meats (chicken, mutton)

General Feeding Guidelines for Puppies

golden retriever puppy eating food from its dog bowl at home

Puppies should be fed more frequently than adult dogs due to their smaller stomachs and higher energy demands. Here's a general feeding schedule:

  • 6-12 weeks: 4 meals per day

  • 3-6 months: 3 meals per day

  • 6-12 months: 2 meals per day

Transitioning from Mother's Milk to Solid Food for Puppies

Newborn pups rely on their mother's milk. Around 4 weeks, you can introduce a puppy feeding schedule with specially formulated  puppy starter food  soaked in warm water. Gradually decrease the water content as they get used to kibble.

Also Read: The Complete Guide to Puppy Weaning: What You Need to Know 

How Much Food is Recommended for Puppies?

how much food is recommended for puppies

The recommended amount of  food for puppies  varies based on their age, breed size, and individual needs.

Feeding instructions are conveniently listed on the back of both  wet  and  dry puppy food  packets, tailored to factors like your dog's age, weight, and breed. However, these recommendations can vary between brands due to differences in nutritional composition.

Therefore, it's crucial to follow the specific guidelines provided on the packaging of your chosen  dog food  to ensure your pet receives the appropriate amount of nutrition.

How to Monitor a Puppy’s Weight Gain and Growth?

It's essential to monitor your puppy's weight gain and growth regularly to ensure they're receiving the appropriate amount of nutrition. Consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your puppy's growth or development.

Also Read: Combating Obesity in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know 

Puppyhood: What are the Nutritional Requirements in Different Ages?

puppy growing up into an adult dog in different stages of life

Puppies have varying nutritional needs depending on their stage of development. Here's a breakdown of the specific needs for each stage:

Neonatal Stage (0-2 Weeks)

Nutritional requirements for puppies in the Neonatal Stage

This is the stage of nutritional needs during the first two weeks of your pup.

During the neonatal stage, puppies rely solely on their mother's milk or a high-quality milk replacer for nutrition. This stage is crucial for their survival and early development.

How to Bottle Feed Your Puppy

In some cases, puppies may need to be bottle-fed, whether due to the mother's inability to produce enough milk or if they are orphaned. Bottle feeding requires special care and attention to ensure the puppies receive the proper nutrition during this critical stage.

When is Bottle Feeding for Puppies Necessary?

Bottle feeding may be necessary in the following situations:

  • The mother dog has an inadequate milk supply or has rejected the litter.

  • The puppies are orphaned, and there is no surrogate mother available.

  • The mother dog has passed away, or the puppies have been separated from her for any reason.

How to Choose the Right Puppy Milk Replacer?

If bottle feeding is required, it's crucial to use a high-quality puppy milk replacer specifically formulated for puppies. Regular cow's milk or other substitutes do not provide the necessary nutrients for proper growth and development.

 Consult a veterinarian  to recommend a suitable puppy milk replacer and guide you on the appropriate feeding schedule and amounts based on the puppies' ages and weights.

What is the Proper Bottle Feeding Technique for Puppies?

Bottle feeding puppies require patience and attention to detail. Here are some tips for proper bottle feeding technique:

  • Use a puppy bottle with a nipple specifically designed for puppies.

  • Warm the milk replacer to around 95-100°F (35-38°C) before feeding.

  • Hold the puppy in a semi-upright position and gently insert the nipple into their mouth.

  • Allow the puppy to suckle at their own pace, and never squeeze the bottle or force-feed them.

  • After feeding, gently rub the puppy's belly to stimulate digestion and bowel movements.

  • Clean and sterilise the bottle and nipple after each feeding.

  • Monitoring Weight Gain and Development

When bottle feeding puppies, it's essential to monitor their weight gain and overall development closely. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure the puppies are gaining weight appropriately and receiving the proper nutrition for their stage of growth.

Transitional Stage (2-4 Weeks)

Nutritional requirements for puppies in the Transitional Stage

Introduce your little pups to solid food and slowly initiate the weaning process.

During the transitional stage, puppies begin to wean off their mother's milk and gradually transition to solid food. This process should be gradual and gentle to avoid digestive upset.

As the puppies approach 3-4 weeks of age, you can begin introducing solid puppy food gradually. Start by mixing a small amount of moistened puppy food with the milk replacer, and gradually increase the solid food portion while decreasing the milk replacer over time.

A suitable diet during this period includes:

  • Soft Rice Porridge: Prepare a soft rice porridge by boiling rice until it's mushy. Let it cool down to room temperature before feeding it to the puppies.

  • Boiled and Mashed Vegetables: Boil and mash vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins. Mix them with the rice porridge to provide additional nutrients and fibre.

  • Milk Replacement Formula: If the puppies are not nursing adequately, consider using a milk replacement formula specifically designed for puppies.

Socialization Stage (4-12 Weeks)

Nutritional requirements for puppies in the Socialization Stage

In this stage, your puppies need proper nutrition for brain development and socialisation.

During the socialisation stage, proper nutrition is essential for brain development and socialisation. Puppies require a balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to support their growth and learning abilities.

Here's what to include in their diet:

  • Homemade Puppy Food: Prepare a homemade puppy food recipe using ingredients like cooked chicken or mutton, rice, and boiled vegetables. This provides a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrates, and essential nutrients.

  • Egg White: Feed cooked egg white to provide essential fats and proteins necessary for brain development.

  • Curd (Yogurt): Offer plain curd (yogurt) as a source of probiotics, which aids in digestion and strengthens the immune system.

Juvenile Stage (3-6 months)

Nutritional requirements for puppies in the Juvenile Stage

In this stage, puppies require nutritional needs for growth and development.

In the juvenile stage, puppies experience rapid growth and development. Their nutritional needs are high, and they require a diet rich in high-quality protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients to support their growing bones and muscles.

 Include the following in their diet:

  • High-Quality Puppy Food: Switch to a high-quality commercial puppy food formulated for  large  or  small breed puppies  , depending on their size.

  • Boiled Chicken or Fish: Offer boiled chicken or fish as a protein source. Remove bones and ensure it's cooked thoroughly to avoid any digestive issues.

  • Milk Products: Introduce paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or yoghurt in moderation to provide  calcium  for bone development.

Adolescent Stage (6-12 Months)

Nutritional requirements for puppies in the Adolescentl Stage

It's time for your pup to finally transition to  adult dog food  which will ensure their continued growth and help them in maturing.

As puppies enter the adolescent stage, they begin to transition to an adult dog food formulation. However, their nutritional needs are still higher than those of adult dogs due to continued growth and development.

 Here's what to feed during this stage:

  • Gradual Transition to Adult Food: Transition to an adult dog food formulation gradually over a period of 7-10 days to avoid digestive upset.

  • Lean Meat: Include lean meats like chicken or turkey in their diet to maintain muscle mass and provide essential proteins.

  • Whole Grains: Offer cooked whole grains like rice or wheat as a source of carbohydrates and fibre.

  • Green Leafy Vegetables: Incorporate cooked green leafy vegetables such as spinach or fenugreek leaves to provide vitamins and minerals.

Supertails Tip: Don't be afraid to introduce dry and wet food to your little pups when they slowly transition into the weaning process. Introduce small amounts of these foods to their diet so they can slowly adapt. It's better not to rush things, as this may alter your puppy's tummy. Add  puppy supplements  to their daily diet, giving them the lost nutrients. 

How to Build My Puppy’s Food Chart?

puppy diet chart for small breed, medium breed, large breed and giant breed.

The specific feeding recommendations for puppies vary based on their breed size and potential adult weight. Here are some general guidelines:

1. Small Breed Puppies

  •  Small breed puppies  (under 9 kg) have higher metabolic rates and require more frequent feedings.

  • They should be fed three to four times a day, with a diet higher in protein and fat to support their growth and energy needs.

2. Medium Breed Puppies

  •  Medium breed puppies  (9-23 kg) can be fed three times a day, with a balanced diet

  • It should contain high-quality protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

3. Large Breed Puppies

  •  Large breed puppies  (23-45 kg) should be fed a diet formulated specifically for large breed puppies.

  • It should contain controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus to support proper bone growth and development.

  • They should be fed two to three times a day.

4. Giant Breed Puppies

  •  Giant breed puppies  (over 45 kg) have unique nutritional needs to prevent rapid growth and associated skeletal issues.

  • They should be fed a diet specifically formulated for giant breeds, with controlled levels of calories, protein, and minerals to support a slower, steady growth rate.

  • They should be fed two to three times a day, following the recommended portions for their breed.

What are the Feeding Guidelines for Puppies with Specific Health Conditions?

Feeding Guidelines for puppies with specific health conditions

Certain health conditions may require adjustments to a puppy's diet. Here are some considerations:

Conditions may require adjustments to a puppy's diet. Here are some considerations:

1. Puppies with Allergies or Sensitivities

For puppies with food allergies or sensitivities, it's important to identify and eliminate the offending ingredients from their diet. Hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diets may be recommended by your veterinarian.

2. Puppies with Gastrointestinal Issues

Puppies with gastrointestinal issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis, may require a highly digestible, low-fat diet to ease digestion and prevent further irritation.

3. Puppies with Growth Disorders or Orthopaedic Issues

Puppies with growth disorders or orthopaedic issues may require a diet with controlled levels of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals to support proper bone and joint development.

4. Special Dietary Considerations

In some cases, puppies may have special dietary needs that require unique nutritional considerations. Always consult with your veterinarian to ensure your puppy's diet meets their specific requirements.

To conclude

golden retriever puppy sitting on grass in a garden

Crafting a well-rounded puppy diet plan is essential for fostering optimal growth, development, and long-term vitality in your furry companion. Understanding their unique nutritional needs at every stage of puppyhood and adhering to appropriate feeding guidelines is paramount.

Consider crucial factors such as breed size, age, and any specific health conditions when devising your puppy diet plan and determining suitable portions. Collaborating with your veterinarian ensures personalised recommendations tailored to your pup's dietary requirements.

With the right knowledge and dedication, you can curate a nourishing puppy diet plan that not only promotes overall well-being but also strengthens the bond between you and your cherished furry friend.


Q: How much to feed a puppy?

A: The recommended amount varies based on age, breed size, and individual needs. Consult our puppy feeding chart for general guidelines.

Q: Can I feed my puppy adult dog food?

A: No, puppies have different nutritional requirements than adult dogs. Feeding them adult dog food can lead to deficiencies and health issues.

Q: What is a good feeding schedule for a puppy?

A: A good feeding schedule for a puppy involves feeding them three to four times a day with portion sizes suited to their age and size. Consistency is key to regulate digestion and support healthy growth. Consulting your vet can help tailor a plan to your puppy's needs.

Q. Is milk OK for puppies?

A: Cow's milk isn't recommended for puppies as it can cause digestive issues due to lactose intolerance after weaning. Stick to specially formulated puppy milk replacers or consult your vet for alternatives.

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