When your puppy turns 6 months old, they’ve reached an important development stage. Your pup is moving from the ranking stage (where the puppy finds their place in the “pack”) to the adolescence state (where the puppy explores dominance in the “pack” and experiences the start of sexual behavior).
This milestone also includes changes to your pup’s feeding schedule, potty times, and more. But back to food and your puppy; you may be wondering exactly how much food your 6-month-old puppy should be eating, how often they should eat, and what food is best.
Let’s have a look so we can answer all your burning questions about your puppy’s diet at the 6-month mark.
How Much Food for a 6-Month-Old Puppy?
How much food you feed your 6-month-old puppy depends on the pup’s breed and weight, or weight at maturity, which relates to whether your dog is a toy or miniature, small, medium, large, or giant dog breed.
In general, feed your 6-month-old puppy this much according to breed size: ½ to 1 ⅓ cups for small dog breeds (3-20 pounds at maturity), ⅛ to 2 ⅓ cups for a medium dog breed (21-50 pounds when mature), 1 ½ to 6 ⅓ cups for a large breed (50-100 pounds when mature), and 6 ⅓ and an extra ⅓ cup for every additional 10 pounds for giant dog breeds (101+ pounds at maturity).
Feeding Quantity According to Puppy Breed Size
Let’s look at this in a little more detail so you don’t underfeed or overfeed your puppy. Below we provide general guidelines for small to giant dog breeds regarding how much they should eat at the 6-month mark. However, always check the nutrition label of the dog food for your pup to establish how much you should be feeding them.
- Small-size dogs
Small dog breeds include the Yorkshire terriers, pugs, French bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Affenpinscher, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and papillons.
Feed a small puppy that will weigh between 3-12 pounds when mature ½ to 1 ½ cups when they are 6 months old. If the small breed weighs between 13 and 20 pounds when they reach maturity, feed them ¾ to 1 ⅓ cups of food.
In terms of calorie intake, a 2.5-pound puppy should eat 150 calories per day, a 10-pounder should eat 433 calories a day, and a 20-pound small dog should eat 734 calories per day.
- Medium-size dogs
Medium dog breeds include the golden retriever, Australian shepherd, border collie, English springer spaniel, and the boxer.
If your medium-sized puppy weighs between 21-50 pounds when mature, feed your pup 1 ⅛ to 2 ⅓ cups of puppy food.
A 25-pound puppy should be eating 863 calories a day, a 40-pound puppy should eat 1,129 calories per day, and a 50-pound pup should consume 1,456 calories in a day.
- Large-size dogs
Large dog breeds include the Afghan hound, American leopard hound, Belgian Malinois, and Airedale terriers.
At the maturity weight of 51-75 pounds, feed your puppy 1 ½ to 3 ¾ cups of dog food. If your pup weigh 76-100 pounds when they are mature, then feed them 2 ⅞ to 6 ⅓ cups of food.
A 60-pound pup should be consuming 1,667 calories a day, an 80-pound puppy should be eating 2,070 calories every day, and a 100-pound pup should eat 2,449 calories per day.
- Giant-size dogs
The Bernese mountain dog, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Black Russian terrier, Anatolian shepherd, kangal dog, and cane corso are examples of giant dog breeds.
If your giant breed puppy will weigh 101 pounds when they are mature, feed them 6 ⅓ cups of puppy food. Add a ⅓ cup of food for every extra 10 pounds your puppy will weigh when they are mature.
For example, for a 131-pound giant puppy, feed them 7 cups of puppy food a day.
A 110-pound puppy should eat 2,628 calories every day, while a 130-pound pup should consume 2,980 calories daily.
How Often Should a 6-Month-Old Puppy Eat?
A 6-month-old puppy should eat twice a day. You should transition your pup to twice a day feedings since until the 6-month mark, they were fed three meals a day. Now you can feed your puppy in the morning and late afternoon (or early evening).
Feeding your puppy around 5 p.m. ensures they have enough time to digest their food and do their business outside before bedtime.
Considering your puppy’s breed and weight, split the total amount of food your pup needs to eat daily into two meals. Feed your puppy at the same time every day to help establish a routine.
Also, ensure your puppy is on a regular deworming schedule to help their digestion and prevent food guzzling that can cause them to overeat.
What Food Should a 6-Month-Old Puppy Eat?
A 6-month-old puppy should still be eating high-quality puppy food that’s customized for their breed. So give your small-breed pup puppy food that’s specifically created for small dogs and feed a medium-breed puppy formula for your medium pup, and a large-breed puppy food for your large or giant-sized pups – different dog breeds have different nutrient requirements. You can then decide whether you want to feed your puppy dry food, wet food, or a raw diet.
Formulas for Small, Medium, and Large Breed Puppies
Small dog breeds generally need a lower-calorie diet but one that still supports their energy levels and faster metabolism than more active, larger-sized pups and adult dogs. Small puppies have smaller teeth and weaker jaws, so the food they eat needs to be the right texture and size.
Medium-breed pups tend to be more active, so their food needs to give them enough energy.
Large and giant-sized dogs grow slower in size than smaller pups, for example. So their puppy food needs to support their growth. Plus, the food needs to be bigger and have an appropriate texture for their larger mouths and to slow down their eating speed.
Then there’s also another consideration. If your puppy suffers from any health issues, you may need to choose a formula that helps your pup. For example, if your puppy has an adverse food reaction, then a grain-free diet is the way to go (at least for a while to see if the symptoms improve).
Dry Puppy Food vs Wet Puppy Food vs Raw Puppy Food
Firstly, you should feed your 6-month-old puppy a formula that’s tailored for puppies. Puppies grow fast. Their bones are growing, and organs and muscles are developing. As such, puppy-specific dog food contains extra nutrients pups need to encourage healthy growth and development.
When looking at puppy dog food, choose between dry or wet food. You can also opt for a raw diet for your pup.
Dry puppy food, also called kibble, is a very popular choice as it’s convenient, more economical, and easy to store. Kibble is also great for your puppy’s dental health because the friction the kibble causes as your pup chews cleans their teeth and keeps their gums healthy.
Wet puppy food, also called canned food, has a higher moisture content to help your puppy stay hydrated. Canned food is also tastier and may be easier to chew.
The raw puppy diet could either be a raw meaty bone (RMB) diet or a biologically appropriate raw food (BARF) diet. With BARF, feed your puppy 60% raw meaty bones and the other 40% will be veggies, legumes, grains, and other animal protein.
Treats for Your Puppy
When feeding your puppy treats, which could be when you train your pup or just want to show them some extra love, be sure to follow the 10-90 rule. 90% of your puppy’s diet should be “proper” puppy food – whether it is dry, wet, or raw food. The other 10% can be healthy puppy treats.