What to Feed Your Puppy [2021]


This article is written by our veterinarian, Dr Teagan Lever, BVSc (Hons)

Congratulations on your new puppy! Bringing home a new dog is an exciting time and you probably have plenty on your mind! As a pet parent you want to give your new family member the best start in life, so how do you decide which food to choose?

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Why Do Puppies Need Special Food?

What your puppy eats in the first year of life has a direct effect on their growth, skeletal development and immune system. It also influences their risk of developing obesity later in life. Puppy food has the right balance of energy, protein, fat, calcium and phosphorus to help your puppy develop properly, it is also highly digestible which is good for sensitive stomachs.

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Which One is Right for Me?

There are plenty of puppy formulations out there, so how do you decide which one is right for you? Your puppy's breed and size will have a big influence on what diet is best for him.

Large and Giant Breed Puppies

Large breeds (adult weight over 25kg) and Giant breeds (adult weight over 45kg) are at risk of developing bone and joint problems if fed a diet that is too high in energy or has the incorrect balance of calcium and phosphorus. They also can take 18 to 24 months to finish growing! Large and giant breed puppy foods are specifically formulated to help prevent developmental bone and joint problems and support lean muscle development during their growth. Instinctive Bite, Advance, Hill's, Royal Canin, Ivory Coat, and Black Hawk all have large breed puppy diets available. Royal Canin also produces a giant breed puppy food and diets designed exclusively for Labrador, Golden Retriever, Boxer and German Shepherd puppies.

Best Diets for Large Breed Puppies:

Medium Breed Puppies

Medium breed puppies (adult weight between 11kg and 25kg) are often working and very active breeds. It is important that they are fed a puppy formulation to meet their energy needs while ensuring robust skeletal development. While most standard puppy foods are suitable for medium breeds, Royal Canin Medium Junior is specifically formulated with medium breed puppies in mind.

Best Diets for Medium Breed Puppies

Small Breed Puppies

Small breed puppies (with an adult weight less than 10kg) have special needs too! Breeds like Maltese Terriers, Chihuahuas, Toy Poodles and Jack Russell Terriers mature quickly and have higher energy needs. Small breed puppy formulations are designed to meet these energy needs while ensuring the right balance of nutrients for growth and development. They also have smaller kibble sizes to make them easier for little mouths to chew. Advance, Hills, Royal Canin, and Eukanuba all have small breed puppy formulations available.

Best Diets for Small and Toy Breed Puppies

Introducing a New Food to Your Puppy

When you first bring your puppy home you should start by feeding the food that they were eating at their previous home. Suddenly changing a puppy's food can result in tummy upsets and diarrhoea so it should be avoided. Over a period of one to two weeks you can gradually transition your puppy across to new diets. To begin with, you should feed your puppy three to four small meals a day. As every puppy formulation is different and your puppy's energy requirements will increase as they grow, check the feeding guide on the packaging to ensure that you are feeding the correct amount for your puppy's weight.

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