Last Updated on January 3, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
If you have a food-crazed puppy in your home, you may wonder just how hungry the average puppy should be.
Most puppies are excited for their meal times each day, but should they still be searching for more food afterwards?
We want to help you get to the bottom of your puppy’s constant hunger, so let’s dive into the details of a standard puppy diet, and what could cause them to be so hungry all the time.
Whether or not you should keep feeding a hungry puppy depends on several factors. It it important to consider their current nutritional intake, age, rate of growth, and health before determining whether more food is appropriate.
Do Puppies Need A Special Diet?
If you have a growing puppy in your family, you will need to make sure they are eating a diet formulated for their age range.
- Puppies require food created specifically for dogs under the age of 1, as they need additional calories and nutrients to keep up with their growing bodies.
Puppy food is fortified with each ingredient a puppy needs to grow big and strong.
Puppy diets include added calories, specific amino acids, balanced fats, and more calcium than the average adult dog food.
If a puppy does not consume a diet that is made for their age range, they can run into developmental issues down the line.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you are feeding a puppy diet that is created for their size. For example, if you have a large breed puppy, you will want to feed them a diet that is created for large breed pups.
Do Puppies Need To Eat More Than Adult Dogs?
Not only should puppies eat a diet that is made specifically for their age range, but they will also need to consume more calories to keep up with their growth requirements.
While each type of kibble will have feeding guidelines on the package, there are some standard guidelines to follow.
Let’s insert a puppy feeding guideline chart below for their daily serving of food:
|Weight At Maturity (lbs)||6 weeks to 3 months (cups)||4-5 months(cups)||6-8 months(cups)||9-11 months(cups)||1 – 1.5 years(cups)|
|3-12||½ to 1||⅔ to 1 ⅓||⅔ to 1 ½||Feed an adult serving||Feed an adult serving|
|13-20||½ to 1 ¼||1 to 1 ½||1 to 1 ⅓||1 to ½||Feed an adult serving|
|21-50||¾ to 1 ½||1 ½ to 2 ¾||1 ½ to 3||2 to 3||2 to 3 ¾|
|51-75||¾ to 2 ⅓||1 ¾ to 3||1 ¾ to 3 ½||2 to 4||2 ½ to 5 ½|
|76-100||1 to 2 ⅔||2 ½ to 3 ¾||2 ½ to 5 ½||3 to 7||5 to 9 ½|
Be sure to always look at the feeding instructions on the package of kibble you choose for your pup, as there will be an accurate feeding chart based on that specific diet.
How Many Times A Day Should I Feed My Puppy?
You’re now aware of the general amount of food you should feed your puppy as they grow, but you will also need to break their daily feeding amount into multiple meals.
Not only is a puppy’s stomach unable to hold as much food as a time when they are growing, but they will need extra boosts of energy throughout the day to protect them from low blood sugar.
A puppy that is anywhere from 6 weeks to 5 months will need to have their food broken into 3-4 meals a day, and a puppy over 6 months of age will typically do just fine with 2-3 meals per day.
Just keep in mind that the smaller the breed, the more meals they require, as they are more at risk of developing a low blood sugar with big gaps in between their meals.
5 Reasons Why Your Puppy Is Always Hungry?
Now that we’ve discussed the standard feeding guidelines for puppies, it’s time to dive into the reasons why your puppy may still be hungry after their feedings.
Ranging from underfeeding to underlying health conditions, let’s discuss the potential causes below!
1. Food Is Exciting
If it seems like your puppy is licking their food bowl clean after each meal and wagging their tail for more, it could just be because eating is exciting to them.
Most puppies just love to eat, and don’t want the fun to stop once they finish their meal. It also takes a few minutes for your puppy to process that they are full, so this could lead to them acting as if they want more food directly after they have finished.
2. We Are Reinforcing The Behavior
If you always give into your puppy and offer them more food after their meals, they may have grown to expect it now. Many of our dog’s “bad” behaviors are a result of us reinforcing them accidentally, and this could be the case with our growing puppies.
If you know you are feeding your puppy an appropriate amount for their weight and age range, try standing strong the next time they beg for more food. After about a week of you doing so, they should finally accept that it is no longer a part of their routine.
3. They Are Not Being Fed Enough
If you are not following the standard guidelines for feeding, then it is possible that you aren’t feeding your puppy enough.
This is also possible if you have an extremely active puppy that is constantly burning calories, as they may need more food to keep up with their energy output. You can either refer to the chart we listed above for a general guideline for feedings, as well as reaching out to your vet for guidance.
4. They Are In The Middle Of A Growth Spurt
Does it seem like your puppy grew a foot overnight? If this is the case for your rapidly growing puppy, then it may be time to increase their feeding amounts.
Our pups need a lot of fuel to keep up with their growing bodies, so they may simply require a few more calories to be satisfied throughout the day.
5. Underlying Health Conditions
Some underlying health conditions in puppies can increase their hunger levels each day. These conditions include intestinal parasites, malnourishment, and even nausea leading to pica.
While these issues are always possible, they are typically accompanied by other noticeable symptoms.
Any of the above conditions can lead to weight loss, lethargy, shifting appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and a dull coat. If you notice any abnormal symptoms in your puppy, we suggest having them seen by your vet right away.
Am I Feeding My Puppy Enough?
We went over the standard feeding guidelines for puppies above, but there are other ways to make sure you are giving your puppy an appropriate amount of food.
To make sure your puppy is within a healthy weight range, let’s list a few questions you should ask yourself when looking at your pup:
- Can I easily feel my puppy’s ribs when petting them? (This is a good thing, as we don’t want out puppies to have so much fat that we cannot easily feel their ribs)
- Can I see the outline of my puppies ribs? (If so, this could mean they are slightly underweight)
- When looking at my puppy when standing over them, do I see a slight waistline or a drastic waistline? (A slight waistline is normal, while a drastic waistline could mean they are underweight)
- Does my puppy have a belly that sags or droops when looking at them from the side? (If so, they could be a bit overweight)
If you asked yourself the questions above and your pup doesn’t have any concerning traits to their appearance, then you are likely feeding your puppy just enough.
However, if your puppy could be either underweight or overweight based on these questions, we suggest having them seen by your vet for guidance on their feeding amounts going forward.
Should I Give My Puppy More Food If They Are Hungry?
So if your puppy is still hungry, should you give them more food? The answer to this question will vary based on the situation.
To make sure you act accordingly when your puppy begs for more food, let’s list when it is and isn’t appropriate to give your puppy more food.
You can give your puppy more food if:
- They are growing at a rapid rate, as they often need an increase in feeding amounts
- If it has been more than an hour since their last meal and they are still appearing hungry
- They are at a healthy weight and they are active each day, as they may need a slight increase in feeding amounts
- You have had them cleared of any underlying health conditions
You should hold off on giving your puppy more food if:
- They have just finished their food, as they may not realize they are full yet
- Your vet says they are overweight for their age range and wants you to follow strict feeding guidelines
- You have gotten approval for their feeding amounts based on their weight and age
- They are displaying signs of an underlying health condition, as we suggest seeking veterinary guidance in this situation.
If your puppy falls into the category of ‘holding off on food’, it does not mean they can’t get more food, but we simply suggest reaching out to your vet first.
Sometimes our puppies just love food, while other times we actually need to increase their feeding amounts.
Be sure to review the feeding chart and causes of hunger we discussed above, and you can make the best decision regarding your pup’s meals going forward.