How Much Do 4-Week-Old Puppies Eat? A Complete Guide (With Breed Chart)

The answer depends on whether your puppy is nursing from its mother or if you’re bottle-feeding with formula. A puppy’s weight is also a major factor in determining how much and how often they should eat.

Nursing Puppies

Puppies nursing from their mother usually don’t need supplemental feeding. Mom’s milk provides everything they need at this stage. You’ll know they’re getting enough if they have round bellies and sleep soundly between feedings. If they are restless, crying a lot, or have sunken bellies, consult your veterinarian.

Bottle-Fed Puppies

Bottle-fed puppies require special care to get the nutrition they need. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Formula Choice: Use a puppy-specific milk replacer designed to closely mimic mother’s milk. Never use cow’s milk, as it can cause digestive upset.
  • Preparation: Follow the instructions on your chosen milk replacer carefully. Incorrect mixing can lead to nutritional deficiencies or stomach upset.
  • Feeding Frequency: Puppies this young need to eat every 3-4 hours, even through the night.
  • Amount: Start with 2 tablespoons of formula per 4 ounces of your puppy’s body weight, divided evenly over their daily feedings. Monitor their weight and adjust as needed.

Feeding Amounts for Bottle-Fed Puppies (Chart)

AgeApprox. Weight RangesFormula Amount Per FeedingFeeding Frequency
4 Weeks5-12 oz1-2 tablespoons per 4 oz of puppy weightEvery 3-4 hours
5 Weeks8-16 oz1.5-3 tablespoons per 4 oz of puppy weightEvery 4-5 hours
6 Weeks12 oz – 1 lb 8 oz2-4 tablespoons per 4 oz of puppy weightEvery 5-6 hours

Introducing Solid Food (Weaning)

Four weeks is the perfect time to start weaning. Here’s how:

  • Type: Choose puppy kibble designed for small breeds. Moisten it with warm water or formula until it’s a soft, mushy consistency.
  • Frequency: Offer small meals 4-6 times a day. Gradually decrease formula feedings as solid food intake increases.
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Feeding Amounts for Solid Food – Weaning (Chart)

AgeType of FoodFeeding FrequencyImportant Notes
4 WeeksPuppy kibble moistened with warm formula or water to a porridge consistency4-6 small meals per dayBegin gradually, still offering formula
5-6 WeeksAs above4-5 meals per dayStart decreasing the liquid used to soften kibble, increasing the amount of solid food
7-8 WeeksMostly softened kibble, but can introduce dry kibble3-4 meals per dayFormula can be phased out completely for most puppies

Monitoring Your Puppy’s Eating

  • Fullness: A content puppy has a slightly rounded belly. Overfeeding causes bloating and discomfort.
  • Hunger: Crying, restlessness, and sucking behaviors signal hunger.
  • Growth: Weigh your puppy daily to track progress.

Troubleshooting Common Feeding Problems

1. Picky Eaters: Not all puppies dive into food with gusto. If yours seems hesitant, try these tips:

  • Flavor Boost: Add a tiny spoonful of warmed formula or low-sodium chicken broth to their kibble for a tempting aroma.
  • Finger Feeding: Offer a few moistened kibble pieces on your fingertip for them to lick and investigate.
  • Patience & Persistence: Don’t give up too quickly. Continued exposure to solid food often wins them over. If there’s no interest after several days, consult your vet.

2. The Runt: Smaller or weaker littermates may need extra attention. Offer them food first, and consider slightly more frequent supplemental formula feedings if needed.

3. Slow Weight Gain: If your puppy isn’t meeting growth expectations, a veterinary visit is essential to rule out underlying issues.

Signs of a Healthy Puppy

How Much Do 4-Week-Old Puppies Eat
Image Credit: Michael Milfeit/gettyimages

Proper feeding is just one part of a happy, healthy puppy! Here are some other signs your pup is thriving:

  • Steady Weight Gain: Your vet can help with breed-specific growth charts.
  • Bright Eyes & Shiny Coat: A healthy pup has a sparkle in their eyes and a coat without dullness or flakiness.
  • Energy and Playfulness: Puppies at this age sleep a lot but should have bursts of playful energy when awake.
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Breed Variations

Larger breed puppies often eat slightly more than smaller breeds. If you’re unsure, consult your veterinarian for breed-specific recommendations.

Your Veterinarian as Partner

Your veterinarian is your best resource for personalized puppy care. Regular checkups at this stage help catch potential issues early and allow your vet to tailor a feeding plan for your puppy’s individual needs.

When to Call the Vet

  • Aspiration: Choking or liquid coming from the nose during bottle-feeding requires immediate veterinary attention.
  • Dehydration: Sunken eyes, dry gums, or lethargy may indicate dehydration.
  • Weight concerns: Significant weight loss or failure to gain weight needs investigation


Feeding your 4-week-old puppy correctly is crucial for their healthy growth. By understanding their nutritional needs, monitoring their eating habits, and knowing when to seek professional help, you’ll set your furry friend up for a lifetime of good health.

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Frequently Asked Question

My puppy seems constantly hungry. What should I do?
Some puppies are naturally greedier. Watch for signs of overfeeding (bloating). If no bloating is present, increase the formula amount slightly at each feeding. Consult your vet if you are concerned.

Can I switch my puppy to regular food at 4 weeks?
No. Puppy food is specially formulated for their needs. Adult food won’t provide the necessary nutrients.

What if my puppy refuses solid food?
Be patient. Some puppies take longer to adjust. If they are still not eating solids after a few days, consult your veterinarian.

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How much gruel should a 4-week-old puppy eat?
Start with small meals of softened kibble 4-6 times a day. Aim for a porridge-like consistency. Gradually increase the portion size as your puppy grows.

What diet should a 4-week-old puppy have?
Ideally, mother’s milk. If bottle-feeding, use a high-quality puppy milk replacer. Begin introducing moistened puppy kibble for weaning around 4 weeks.

Do puppies need milk after 4 weeks?
Nursing puppies can get all their needed nutrition from their mother’s milk. Bottle-fed puppies may still need formula until fully weaned onto solid food (usually by 7-8 weeks)

How often should 4-week-old puppies eat solid food?
Offer small meals of moistened kibble 4-6 times a day to begin with.

How many ounces should a 4-week-old puppy drink?
Focus on weight, not ounces. Bottle-fed puppies need about 2 tablespoons of formula per 4 ounces of body weight, spread over daily feedings.

What can I feed a 4-week-old orphaned puppy?
A veterinarian-recommended puppy milk replacer is essential. Never use cow’s milk. Consult your vet for proper feeding techniques and amounts.

Can 4-week-old puppies eat wet food?
Yes, moistened canned puppy food can be used for weaning. Ensure it’s formulated for puppies and mix with formula or warm water for a soft consistency.