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Feeding Schedule For 5-Week Old Puppy: When & What To Feed

Feeding Schedule For 5 Week Old Puppy

Planning for a 5-week old whelp could be tricky.


They’re in a crucial period where their nutritional needs are ever-changing.

And a single decision may affect their growth and development.

So, how can you make sure you’re feeding them right?

Continue reading to learn:

  • What you should feed to a 5-week old puppy.
  • How frequently they should be fed every day.
  • Whether they still need milk or not at this age.
  • What the correct interval for each of their meals is.
  • And a lot more…

How to create a feeding schedule for a 5-week old puppy 

You can create a feeding schedule for a 5-week old puppy by considering how frequently they should be fed. And knowing the right gap for every meal. This is to avoid over or under-feeding. But, ensure that the feeding plan also matches your daily routine. So that you’ll be able to stick with it. 

How many times a day should I feed my 5-week old puppy?

You should feed your 5-week old puppy 4 times a day. Vets recommend this to support their abrupt growth and development. But, it could also be reduced to 3 times if you observed that your pup can’t eat that much food.

Do this on a consistent schedule. Meaning, their feeding times must be the same every day. And prepare only small meals. Then spread them throughout the day.

By offering your pup little amounts, digestion of food will be much easier for them. And distributed meals will give them even energy boosts for the whole day.

Note: As puppies grow a week older, their feeding times will be adjusted as well. You can lower the meals to 3 a day. 

Is 5 weeks a crucial stage for puppies?

At this age, pups tend to grow fast – especially smaller dogs. While larger breeds have bigger bones that’ll take more time to develop. So they’ll need more nutrition and calories. 

In a study, toy breeds’ growth spurt usually stops at 11 weeks old. While it’s 14 to 16 weeks for small and medium dogs. And they’ll be fully grown as early as 9 months.

However, it’s a different case for giant breeds.

Because they’ll grow at a slower rate which may take up to 5 months. Then reach maturity at 15 months.

Some feeding reminders

  • Monitor your puppy’s food intake to avoid them from eating too much or too little.
  • Let them eat until they’re full. (They’ll automatically go away from their food when they’re done.)
  • Pick up their feeding bowl after they stop eating. And avoid leaving their food longer than 15 minutes to prevent overeating.
  • Give your pup a shallow feeding bowl since they’re still small. Such as a cake pan or muffin pan – if you have many puppies.
  • Ensure to always leave fresh water for your pup. It must be accessible to them at all times. And make cleaning their bowl a daily habit.

How long can 5-week old puppies go between feedings?

5 Week Old Puppy Feedings

5-week old puppies can go between feedings for as long as 5 to 6 hours. They’re in the stage where they’re growing a lot and get hungry fast. So longer than 6 hours isn’t advised.

One danger of not eating for long hours in pups is ‘hypoglycemia.’ Or low blood sugar level. And this can be fatal if not given attention.

This may happen if a pup is highly active. And there’s a long interval between their meals. So make sure to always feed yours at the right time.

Experts say that puppies below 3 months old are more prone to this. As they can’t still manage their blood sugar level at their age.

They also point out that toy and small breeds are at higher risk. Because they have a slower process of breaking down sugar.

Aside from fasting, this could also happen due to:

  • Stomach issues.
  • Intestinal parasites.
  • Low body temperature.

So watch out for other symptoms as well, like:

  • Shaking.
  • Lethargy.
  • Disorientation.
  • Becoming more sleepy.

Read next: 13 Odd Reasons Why Dogs Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night

Creating a feeding schedule for your 5-week old puppy

The info mentioned above will help you make a feeding plan for your puppy. Although there are things that you still need to consider, like,

“When’s the ideal time for their first meal?”

Usually, 7 am works best for pups. And this is also perfect if your work starts at 8 am or 9 am.

“How about dinner?”

It’s ideal for puppies to have their last meal around 5 pm. This is to let them digest their food. And give them enough time to relieve themselves before sleeping. 

At 5 weeks, puppies can also start to relieve themselves on their own. But, they’re still too young for housetraining. As vets say that they can’t hold their bladder/bowel well.

Based on VCA, they may eliminate 10 to 15 minutes after a meal. So provide potty pads nearby.

Also, make sure that they’re in a safe pen. As they’ll start to run and explore the surroundings more.

So it’s best to have separated but accessible areas for:

  • Sleeping.
  • Eating/playing.
  • Peeing/pooping.

Do this as an introduction for future housetraining. But remember, they’re still young. So it’s possible for them to pee or poop on their bed.

Just check their spot and clean up regularly. 🙂

Finalizing the schedule…

So if you’re going to feed your pup 4 times a day, the other 2 meals shall be between 7 am and 5 pm. 

And they shall be distributed at intervals no longer than 6 hours.

I’ve also included the ideal bedtime. As pups need lots of rest. So they should have eliminated early for a night of less disrupted sleep.

And the final schedule looks like this:

6:30 amWaking up; cleaning their area
7:00 am1st meal
9:00 amPlaytime with you; checking and cleaning their area
11:00 am2nd meal
12:30 pmPlaytime with you; checking and cleaning their area
2:00 pm3rd meal
3:30 pmPlaytime with you; checking and cleaning their area
5:00 pm4th meal
7:00 pmPlaytime with you; checking and cleaning their area
9:00 pmBedtime (lights out, provide no stimulation)

But if you notice that your pup will do well in 3 feeding times:

6:30 amWaking up; cleaning of their area
7:00 am1st meal
10:00 amPlaytime with you; checking and cleaning their area
12:00 noon2nd meal
3:00 pmPlaytime with you; checking and cleaning their area
5:00 pm3rd meal
7:00 pmPlaytime with you; checking and cleaning their area
9:00 pmBedtime (lights out, provide no stimulation)

Note: This is only a reference. So feel free to adjust it a bit. As it’s also important that their schedule works for you as well.

What to feed a 5-week old puppy (without mom)?

You can feed a 5-week old puppy (without mom) solid puppy food. But, soak the kibbles in warm water or milk replacer first. And do this for a few minutes to soften their food.

Aside from using water, you may also add some canned food for puppies.

Then as they grow a week older, slowly thicken the consistency of their food. To have a smooth transition to dry kibbles and other types of food.

Experts say that the weaning of puppies usually starts at 3 to 4 weeks old.

This is because their teeth will begin to grow at this age. And it’ll bring discomfort to their moms.

So most mother dogs will refuse to nurse their kids at 5 weeks or less.

That’s why you don’t need to worry much. As it’s normal to introduce dry pup food to them at this stage.

However, as I said earlier, this will be a crucial stage for their growth. So make sure to feed them a completely balanced meal.

What specific food should I feed my 5-week old puppy?

Specific Food To Feed Your 5-Week Old Puppy

It’s best to give them high-quality commercial food. This comes in dry kibbles or canned goods.

But, pick only those that are:

  • Specially made for puppies.
  • Suitable to their age and size.
  • Labeled with ‘complete and balanced nutrition.’
  • Certified by the American Association of Feed Control Officials or AAFCO.

A true ‘complete and balanced’ puppy food contains all the nutrients they need. And in right amounts as well, like:

  • Fats.
  • DHA.
  • Protein.
  • Calcium.
  • Carbohydrates.

But, it’s hard to know if a product is ‘complete’ or not. So to be sure, consult your vet for a recommendation. Or look for the certification mentioned above to help you decide.

Also, adult dog food shouldn’t be given to your pup. As well as generic ones that don’t specify if they’re for small or large breeds.

“Why’s that?”

This is because puppies have different nutritional needs from adult dogs. And same goes for small, medium, large, and giant breeds.

Specialists warn parents with large breed dogs in particular. As they’re more prone to bone or joint issues. Such as hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis.

These problems are mainly genetic. So they may not avoid it in their lifetime.

However, vets say that you can delay them from happening.


Just avoid these 3 things:

Overfeeding: Restrict their calories. Feed them suitable and quality puppy food.

Excessive calcium: Too much calcium causes abnormal bones and joint growth.

Unbalanced diet: Such as home-cooked meals. Experts say to wait until 1 year (for small to large dogs). Or 18 months (for giant breeds) before changing into this diet.

You might also like: 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Lays Down To Eat + 3 Tips

How much food should you give to your 5-week old pup?

This will depend on their weight. So the amount of food that a small dog needs could be less than what a large breed requires. 

Also, puppy food usually has instructions on its packaging. And it can be used as a reference.

The amount stated there might only be the ‘starting point.’ So give them the least portion in the beginning.

Using the recommended amount, divide it into 4. To come up with evenly distributed small meals in a day.

Note: If your pup seems hungry all the time, gradually add more. And see if there are any changes in their appetite. Stop adding more once their food intake returns to normal.

In some cases, other pups may also find it hard to eat soft food. As they were only used to drinking milk.


How can you make a 5-week old puppy eat?

You can make a 5-week old puppy eat by mashing the soaked kibbles. And make a gruel out of it for easier chewing.


  1. Pour it into a shallow pan.
  2. Dip one of your fingertips on the food.
  3. Then put a small amount on your puppy’s nose. To make them smell it and eventually lick the food off.
  4. Do the same thing again. But try putting your soaked finger near their mouth instead. 
  5. Wait until they lick it.
  6. Repeat step #4. But move your finger a little bit farther away from your puppy’s mouth.
  7. Then touch their bowl using your soaked finger. To lead your pup to it.

Avoid using force and be as gentle as possible. And after many repetitions, your pup will start getting used to the taste of their new food.

Note: Be more patient especially when it comes to cleaning. As you’ll expect your pup to create a mess while eating.

Can I give my 5-week old puppy some treats?

It isn’t advised to offer your pup commercial treats at 5 weeks old. As well as any human or table food.

Even if they use their secret weapon a.k.a ‘puppy eyes.’ And look at you while you’re eating.

This is because puppies are prone to diarrhea and stomach upset. And ingesting these may cause trouble to their tummies.

But wait…

If you want to give them some treats, prepare healthy ones instead. For example, tiny bits of apples or carrots.

These are safe for dogs and also low in calories. Plus, they’re rich in vitamins too.

‘Puppy diarrhea’

I’ve said that puppies are more likely to get stomach issues. And what’s linked to it?


Seeing your pup having loose stools is quite alarming. And the common causes of it are:

  • Food intolerance.
  • A sudden change in diet.

At 5 weeks old, pups’ tummies are more sensitive. So switching their pup food may cause watery poop.

But according to AKC, puppy diarrhea isn’t usually serious. And mild cases can be resolved by making them drink enough fresh water.

Warning: If your pup has diarrhea for long hours. And they also show other signs, have them checked by a vet at once.

In connection with stomach problems, you might also ask…

“Can I give probiotics to a 5-week old puppy?”

Labrador Puppy Testing Food Meme

PetMD says you can give puppies probiotics.

But like their food, buy ones that are made for dogs as well. And discuss this with your vet to avoid any side effects.

This is because human probiotics will not be effective on canines. With a simple reason that they’re specifically made for us.

What do they do?

They have good bacteria. And these help in better digestion. As well as in keeping the immune system healthy.

So these can avoid:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Digestive tract infections.

One study found that these help in treating diarrhea in dogs.

As Fidos given with probiotics cured as early as 3 days. While those who didn’t take any had diarrhea for up to 8 days.

And also, there were no reported cases of dehydration in dogs who took probiotics.

Where can they get these?

Dog probiotics are in different forms. Say, chews, tablets, or powders.

Other dog foods also include probiotics in their products.

And pups may also get this from some human food. But only those that aren’t sweetened. Like plain yogurt and kefir.

Does a 5-week old puppy still need milk?

Ideally, a 5-week old puppy doesn’t need much milk anymore. As it’ll not be enough for their current nutritional needs.

This is according to the National Research Council. So puppies at this age require another source. Say, puppy-formulated kibbles to get all the nutrients they need.

“But my pup still doesn’t want to eat soft food.

What should I do?”

If it seems like your puppy isn’t completely weaned off…

You can give them a milk replacer first. Then gradually, introduce solid pup food to them again. And do this after 2 or more days.

“Wait, what is a milk replacer?”

Dogs can’t be fed any other types of milk. Aside from their mother’s or commercial milk replacers.

As goat, cow, and infant formula may cause serious stomach upset to a puppy.

So if your pup’s mother isn’t around. Or they’re refusing to nurse your whelp, a milk replacer will do.

Because it has the right amount of:

  • Calcium.
  • Fatty acids.
  • Amino acids.

And these will help a growing puppy. Especially in their brain and eye development. As well as in keeping them away from tummy problems.

Note: But before giving it to them, VCA says to heat the milk replacer first. In 95°F to 100°F (35°C to 37.8°C). And test the mixture on your skin to make sure it’s cold enough.