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When to Switch a Puppy to Adult Food

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When it comes to transitioning a puppy to adult food, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach as it depends on your dog’s breed, age, and weight. In this article we assist you in determining the best time to switch your dog’s food and how to do so successfully.

How Long Can a Puppy Eat Puppy Food?

In general, puppies are dogs that are less than a year old. They require a puppy-formulated diet during their first year of life to make sure they get the proper nutrients for growth. However, the length of time your dog is on puppy food will vary depending on the size of your dog’s breed.

Signs That it’s Time to Move From Puppy to Adult Food

When your dog reaches a certain weight or age, you’ll want to switch to adult dog food. Below are rough estimates for weights and ages across different breeds when they hit maturity. Please keep in mind that because these are only rough estimates, you should consult with your vet to determine what is best for your dog–especially if you’re unsure of your dog’s breed.

  • Toy breeds (approx. 9 months old): 4–7 pounds at maturity
  • Small breeds (approx. 12 months old): 8–20 pounds at maturity
  • Medium breeds (approx. 12 months old): 21–50 pounds at maturity
  • Large breeds (approx. 18–24 months old): 51–85 pounds at maturity
  • Giant breeds (approx. 18–24 months old): 85 pounds or more at maturity

Why Make the Switch From Puppy to Adult Food?

Puppies have different nutrient and calorie requirements than adult dogs. Puppy-formulated foods are typically higher in protein and fat to aid in growth. They also frequently contain DHA, which is found in mother’s milk.

When your puppy is fully grown, they do not require as many calories. If you continue to feed puppy food to an adult dog, the dog may become overweight.

How to Transition From Puppy Food to Adult Food

While puppies typically eat three meals per day, adult dogs can eat just two meals a day. Follow the feeding guide on your dog’s food label, as it will tell you how much to feed your dog per day and to divide it into two meals.

When the time comes to switch your puppy to adult dog food, do so gradually. A gradual transition aids in avoiding stomach upset.

Here is an example feeding schedule to help transition to adult food:

  • Days 1–2: Fill your dog bowl with 3/4 puppy food and 1/4 adult dog food.
  • Days 3–4: Mix up a 50/50 ratio of both puppy food and adult dog food.
  • Days 5–7: Feed your dog a mix of 1/4 puppy food and 3/4 adult dog food.
  • Days 8–10: Serve only adult dog food.

If your dog shows resistance towards eating adult food or has an upset stomach, adjust the transition time accordingly. If you require additional assistance, contact your veterinarian.

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