Puppies do a lot of growing, and to support that growth, they need special puppy food that’s extra rich in calories, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Once they reach adulthood, they can safely switch to adult food to avoid becoming overweight from all those extra calories that their bodies no longer need.
It seems like it should be easy to know when to switch your puppy onto adult food, but that really depends on your puppy’s size and growth rate. Let’s look at what to consider when switching your puppy onto adult dog food and how to do it.
Most toy and small breed puppies are fully grown between 8 and 12 months of age, with smaller dogs maturing faster than larger ones. Once they are adults, switching them from puppy food to adult dog food is safe. You’ll also want to reduce the number of feedings that they get each day down from three or four to two.
Large Breed Puppy Food Switch
Large and giant breed dogs take much longer to mature than smaller dogs, with their growth plates continuing to develop until 18 months to 2 years of age. For these puppies, it’s best to feed them food specifically designed for large breeds. This prevents rapid growth that could damage their bones and joints. Once your puppy is fully grown, you can then safely switch them onto the adult dog food.
Switching Your Puppy to a New Food
Before making the switch to a new food of any kind for your dog, you’ll need to do so gradually. That’s because an abrupt change of food can lead to stomach upset and a refusal to eat the new food. For best results, switch to adult food over the course of 7 to 10 days. Start by feeding your dog a mix of 25% puppy food with 75% adult food for two days. Afterwards, gradually decrease the amount of puppy food and increase the new food by 25% every two days.
Puppy Food Considerations
For puppies fed a food labelled “for all life stages” by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or a homemade diet, no food switch is needed. That’s because these foods are appropriate for puppies and adult dogs. The only thing that you’ll need to change is how much and how often you feed your dog.