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How to know when your puppy is ready for adult dog food

A puppy’s nutritional needs are a lot different than the needs of adult dogs. It’s a lot more complicated than just looking at your pup’s age. You have to make a safe and healthy choice for your dog, when it comes to dog food.

How puppy food differs from adult dog food

Puppies grow and thus require food that contains high amounts of protein, nutrients, and calories that can support their growth rate and energetic behavior. There are many different types of puppy food that have smaller kibbles or softer formulas. When buying puppy food, every dog owner should be looking at these things. As the puppy grows, the kibble sizes should change to accommodate teeth sizes.

As dogs grow older, their natural energy levels and growth slows down. They will need fewer rich foods. If your dog eats puppy food longer than necessary, it can lead to obesity or other health related problems.  It is so important, to recognize when your puppy is ready for adult dog food and adjust its diet.

When should you switch to adult dog food?

Every puppy is different. Not one dog is the same, so it isn’t easy to tell when it’s the right time to switch to adult food, but there are clues you can look at to adjust your pup’s diet.

As a general rule, puppies can switch to adult dog food when they reach about 75-85 percent of their adult size. At this age, their growth rate naturally begins to slow down. This will depend on your dog’s breed and anticipated size.

  • Toy, teacup, and tiny breeds (under 10-12 pounds when grown) – 6-7 months old
  • Small dog breeds (up to 20-25 pounds when mature) – 9-11 months old
  • Medium dog breeds (25-50 pounds adult weight) – 12-14 months old
  • Large dog breeds (50-75 pounds when grown) – 15-18 months old
  • Giant dog breeds (80+ pounds when grown) – 18-24 months old

Remember, these are just guidelines. Your dog’s activity must also be taken into account when considering the switch to adult formula food. If your dog is more active and energetic, they may rely on the extra energy of puppy food to meet their needs until they are closer to their adult size. When your dog starts eating less puppy food and rejecting it, you will know it’s time to change.

How to switch your pup’s diet

It is not as easy as just changing your pup’s diet at the appropriate age, it is important to make the transition slowly. If you switch the food too quickly, it can lead to digestive difficulties such as diarrhea and vomiting. By gradually switching to adult food, you will ease your dog onto a new diet with less difficulty. What you can do is to take time to make the switch, start by offering your dog 75 percent puppy food with 25 percent adult formula.

Once you have successfully weaned your doggy onto a diet of adult dog food, you should not return to give them puppy food. Instead, consider giving away any extra food to a shelter or humane society. They are always in need of food to feed the hungrier puppies.