Congratulations on your new golden retriever puppy! You now have a beautiful, smart, and loyal dog who will love you for life. To make sure they grow into a healthy and happy companion, you need to feed them the right amount of food. At 2-3 months old, which is usually when they are ready to leave their mother, a golden retriever puppy should be eating 3 cups of dog food divided into three meals per day. This is based on a typical large-breed puppy food. Different brands will give a feeding guide on their packaging.
However, how much and how often to feed your golden retriever will keep changing during this time of rapid growth.
Golden Retriever Puppy Feeding Timeline
All puppies are different as are the foods, but some general guidelines for feeding your golden retriever during their first year are:
How Often Should I Feed My Golden Retriever Puppy?
Large breed puppies like golden retrievers should eat three to four small meals a day for the first 3–6 months of their lives.
Smaller portions spread throughout the day are easier on their tummies and help prevent bloat, a serious condition that can be deadly for dogs. It also helps them maintain their energy level throughout the day.
How to Choose Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppies
The nutritional requirements for golden retriever puppies are different than for adult dogs. Puppy food has more calories and fat to support their growth, as well as extra vitamins and minerals for their developing immune and nervous systems and bones.
Use these tips to choose the best food for your golden retriever puppy:
How to Know if You’re Feeding Your Golden Retriever Puppy Enough
If your golden had his way, he would probably eat all day long. But puppies need to be fed on a schedule to prevent them from overeating and becoming overweight.
How do you know if your puppy is getting enough to eat? Here are a few signs that your golden retriever puppy is well-nourished:
If you’re ever unsure about whether your puppy is getting enough to eat, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian. They can help you fine-tune your puppy’s diet to ensure he’s getting all the nutrients he needs to grow into a healthy adult dog.
8 Tips for Feeding Your Golden Retriever Puppy
Puppy mealtime is more than just filling up a bowl with food. It’s an opportunity to bond with your puppy and start teaching them good manners.
Make the most of mealtime with these tips:
1. Set a Regular Feeding Schedule and Stick to It as Much as Possible
This will help your puppy know when to expect his next meal and make it easier for you to monitor how much he’s eating. It also helps other aspects of puppy training, such as potty training and crate training.
2. Consider Feeding Them in Their Crate
This can help your puppy associate their crate with good things (like food) and make it more likely that they’ll want to go in there.
3. Don’t Free-Feed Your Puppy.
This means leaving food out all day for them to graze on whenever they want. It’s easier, but it can lead to problems like obesity and poor manners. Leave food down for 10 minutes and then pick up what is not eaten. If they have not eaten anything, offer it again in an hour.
4. Make Sure They’re Eating Slowly
Some puppies gulp their food down so fast they don’t even taste it. Slow them down by scattering their kibble around the bowl, using a puzzle feeder or snuffle mat. This will help them learn to eat slowly and enjoy their food more.
5. Don’t Forget to Add Water
Puppies need plenty of fresh water, so make sure to fill up their bowl before and after each meal. If your puppy is not drinking enough water for your liking, try adding a bit of broth to their bowl to make it more appealing and help them stay hydrated.
6. Resist the Urge to Sneak Them Table Scraps
Puppies are experts at giving those big, soulful eyes that make it hard to say no. But resist the temptation to give them table scraps or human food. Aside from teaching them bad manners, it can also lead to health problems, like obesity. A lot of human foods are not safe or healthy for dogs. For instance, garlic and onions are toxic to dogs. Oily food can upset their stomach, and carbs add a lot of calories.
7. Feed Them at the Same Place for Each Meal
Even if you’re not crate training, it’s a good idea to feed your puppy in the same spot each time. This helps them learn that mealtime is a specific time and place and not something that happens all over the house.
8. Let Your Puppy Eat in Peace.
Make sure everyone respects your puppy’s mealtime and gives them space to eat. This includes other pets in the house and small children who might want to bother them or try to steal their food. Otherwise, meals can become a stressful experience for your puppy instead of a happy one.
Feeding your golden retriever puppy the right amount of quality dog food will establish a strong foundation for their health and happiness. In addition, make mealtimes more meaningful by turning them into lessons and bonding moments between you and your dog. The puppy phase is over before you know it, so enjoy it while it lasts!
Featured Image Credit: Chiemsee, Pixabay