A balanced diet is vital for a puppy’s correct development, so every owner should know how much to feed a golden retriever puppy.
Unfortunately, golden retrievers are real gluttons and will eat as much food as the owner gives them.
Being a large and energetic dog breed, golden retrievers have an enormous appetite, but overfeeding can have severe consequences for their health.
On the other hand, underfeeding a golden retriever puppy may result in fragile bones, developmental issues, and chronic health conditions.
Remember that a dog’s nutritional needs depend on more factors than age, so refer to the recommended serving size chart but keep an eye on your puppy’s growth rate.
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The Correct Nutrient Ratio
The nutritional value of puppy food plays an equally important role as the serving size. A puppy’s nutritional needs are different from an adult dog’s as its body still grows and develops.
Adult golden retrievers should get about 16%-38% of their daily calories from protein, 5%-10% from fats, and 50%-60% from carbs. Puppies need more protein for muscle tissue growth and more fat for normal brain and nerve development.
However, if a puppy’s diet contains too much fat, its body tissue may become fat-based, so strive to keep fats within the 14% to 16% range. The protein content should range from 24% to 38%.
The optimal carbohydrate content in a puppy’s diet depends on its activity levels and other variables, but most veterinarians recommend keeping it within the 20% to 45% range.
Puppy growing bones are highly dependent on calcium and phosphorus, and these minerals are interdependent. In other words, for calcium to absorb, a puppy must be consuming enough phosphorus and vice versa.
Adult dogs must consume calcium and phosphorus in a 1:1 ratio, but puppies need slightly more calcium – the perfect ratio is close to 1.4:1. For this reason, puppies shouldn’t eat adult dog food, or their bones may grow thin and fragile.
If you feed your puppy specially formulated for its age kibble, you don’t have to worry about the nutrient ratio. However, if you feed your puppy a fresh diet, ensure that your pet is getting enough nutrients and minerals.
Calculating The Calorie Intake
If you’re a fresh puppy diet advocate, learn to calculate the optimal puppy daily calorie intake since measuring the serving size isn’t as straightforward as with kibble.
Puppies under four months old must consume about 60 calories per pound of body weight.
So, a ten-pound puppy should consume 600 calories daily, and a 20-pound puppy should consume 1200 calories daily. However, after four months old, a puppy’s daily calorie requirement decreases to about 40 calories per pound of weight.
If an older puppy continues to eat like a young puppy, it may gain extra weight and develop health conditions. Therefore, stick with 800 calories a day for a 20-pound puppy, 1200 calories for a 40-pound puppy, etc.
You can continue to feed your puppy 40 calories per pound of body weight until one year old. Then, switch to the adult golden retriever’s daily calorie requirement of 30-35 calories per pound of body weight.
How Much To Feed a Two-Month-Old Puppy
If you feed your golden retriever kibble, calculating the serving size is simple. An eight-week-old golden retriever puppy should eat about 1.5 cups of kibble per day, which equals approximately 600 to 800 calories.
Note that the recommended serving size for a two-month-old puppy may differ if the puppy weighs more or less than the average 10-15 pounds. Male puppies typically weigh several pounds more than females.
Furthermore, the calorie content of dog food may vary by brand. If possible, check the label on the dog food pack for instructions. Most manufacturers indicate the recommended serving size for dogs of different sizes.
A two-month-old golden retriever puppy should have three or four meals a day. Don’t leave food freely available throughout the day because it may lead to overfeeding and excessive weight gain.
How Much To Feed a Three-Month-Old Puppy
At three months old, most golden retriever puppies weigh 20-25 pounds and need to consume about 1200 daily. As a rule of thumb, feed your puppy two cups of kibble per day, dividing them into three servings.
If your puppy gains more weight than it should, reduce the total food intake to 1.5 cups per day, and if your puppy is underweight, increase it to 2.5 cups.
How Much To Feed a Four-Month-Old Puppy
At four months old, golden retriever puppy weight gain speed begins to decrease, and they don’t need to consume as many calories. The normal four-month-old golden retriever’s weight is 25 to 30 pounds.
So, a four-month-old puppy should consume two to 2.5 cups of kibble per day. However, you may have to adjust the serving size if you switch your puppy to a different food type.
Some kibble manufacturers make different formulas for puppies under four months old and from four to six months old. Continue to split the daily food serving into three parts.
How Much To Feed a Five-Month-Old Puppy
The healthy weight for a five-month-old golden retriever puppy is 30-40 pounds, so they should consume 1000-1200 calories daily. As a rule of thumb, feed your puppy three cups of food daily – a cup three times a day.
Remember that you may have to adjust the recommended serving size based on your puppy’s growth rate. If your puppy is gaining weight too rapidly, stick with 2.5 cups of kibble daily, and if it’s underweight, increase the food amount slightly.
How Much to Feed a Six+ Month Old Puppy
Six-month-old male golden retriever puppies must weigh 40-50 pounds and females 38-46 pounds. At this age, the golden retriever growth rate begins to decrease, and the serving size should remain unchanged until the dog celebrates its first birthday.
Male golden retriever puppies should eat 3.5 to four cups of kibble a day, depending on the food brand and the puppy’s activity level. In contrast, female goldens should eat about three cups a day.
Keep the servings consistent until your puppy is one year old if it gains weight as expected. However, if your puppy’s growth rate differs from the norm, adjust the serving sizes accordingly.
Note that although the serving size should remain more or less the same, your puppy’s nutritional needs change at about ten months old, and you can start gradually switching your puppy to adult food.
At six months old, you can reduce your dog’s daily meal count from three to two and continue feeding it twice a day in adult age.
How to Know You Are Underfeeding or Overfeeding a Puppy
Your puppy’s perfect serving size may differ from the recommended depending on its growth rate. Therefore, learn how to know if you are overfeeding your puppy.
Test whether you can feel your dog’s ribs weekly. If you can’t feel your dog’s ribs, it’s becoming overweight, and you need to reduce the food amount.
However, your puppy’s ribs shouldn’t be protruding. If they are, increase the serving size by about half a cup daily. Generally, it’s better to underfeed than overfeed a puppy unless it’s extremely underweight.
Golden retrievers are supposed to look lanky, and all goldens act like they are starving because they always want to get more food.
Weighing your puppy is also helpful in determining whether the serving sizes are adequate. However, the average golden retriever’s weight chart by age is pretty generalized.
A puppy that is at the top of his normal weight range may have excess fat, and a puppy that is in the lower-normal range may need to eat more. Some puppies grow too fast for their age but don’t become fat.
Suppose a six-month-old male puppy weighs 55 pounds, but the owner can still feel their dog’s ribs. The serving size should be reduced regardless because too rapid growth can result in the development of health conditions.
Wet Food Serving Size For a Puppy
Many veterinarians and breeders recommend incorporating wet food into the puppy diet to maintain optimal moisture levels and prevent constipation. However, by feeding your puppy only wet food, you risk raising it into a picky eater refusing to eat kibble in adult age.
The best practice is to mix wet dog food with dry. A three-ounce wet food can is equivalent to about a quarter cup of kibble.
So, a three-month-old golden retriever should eat 1.5 cups of kibble and six ounces of wet food per day. The wet food to dry food ratio for puppies can be adjusted depending on a puppy’s taste preferences and whether it consumes enough water.
Golden retriever puppies don’t need supplements if they eat high-quality kibble with an adequate nutrient ratio. Excessive mineral content in a dog’s body can be equally dangerous as its deficiency.
However, many veterinarians recommend giving supplements to golden retriever puppies on a fresh diet because owners often fail to provide their pets with enough calcium and phosphorus.
Regardless of your puppy’s diet, consult with your vet before giving it any supplements because more isn’t always better.
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