How to Feed A Puppy (Large or Small Breeds)
It might seem that you should heap your large-breed puppy's bowl full of chow so he grows big and strong. But research suggests feeding large-breed puppies too many calories may contribute to the development of skeletal disorders such as osteochondrosis and hip dysplasia.
Calories are vital for growth and activity and very young puppies require at least twice the calories per pound that an adult dog does, but too many calories may lead to excess weight, which can put more stress on growing bones. That's why it's important to feed a large-breed puppy food with a controlled calorie content designed for healthy bone growth without excessive weight gain. Ultimate size at maturity is genetically programmed; large-breed puppies fed a complete and balanced diet who grow more slowly will still reach the same size, just a little later —and chances are, a lot healthier.
Protein is important for building muscle, which in turn helps develop sound conformation. In general, large-breed puppies should eat a puppy food with more than 25 percent protein to help support muscles and tendons.
Calcium is frequently added by owners of large breeds in the belief that it's needed to form strong bones. But while it's true that a calcium-deficient diet can result in weak bones, a calcium-excessive diet can do just as much harm. When too much calcium is absorbed, the body may deposit it on bone tissue, whether the bone needs it or not. As this continues, the bone is reshaped in ways that can lead to skeletal abnormalities. Calcium levels must be adjusted along with calorie level so that a puppy eating the proper number of calories is also eating the proper amount of calcium. This is another reason you can't just give a large-breed puppy less of a regular puppy food or more of an adult diet food. The calcium (as well as the important calcium-phosphorus ratio) will likely be wrong for a growing large breed.
What's a large-breed owner to do? The best bet is to feed a commercial food specially formulated for large-breed puppies. Don't add supplements, especially not calcium, and don't overfeed your puppy.
To avoid hypoglycemia, feed toy puppies frequently. A young (under 4 months) toy puppy should be fed about four to five times a day. From about 4 to 7 months of age, he can eat four times a day; from 7 to 9 months of age, three times a day; and by the time he's 12 months of age, twice a day. When the dog can't be fed as often as suggested, he should be kept warm and quiet so he doesn't expend a lot of energy. To avoid a roller-coaster effect with blood sugar levels, be very careful and consistent about what, how much and when you feed your puppy.
Toy puppies have little teeth, so they do better if fed a small-kibble food. Your best bet is to buy a commercial food specially formulated to meet the needs of small-breed puppies.
Source: Vet Street