When To Switch To Adult Dog Food?
Depending on the breed size, you can start switching to adult dog food when your puppy turns 1. Large breed dogs can take longer to reach adulthood. You might have to delay switching to adult food up until the puppy is 2 years-old.
Here’s when to switch to adult dog food by age
Some puppies grow into full adult dogs faster than others. It’s known that small breed dogs reach adulthood a bit faster.
Toy breed dogs which rarely reach 12 pounds generally reach adulthoods between 6 and 7 months
Small breed dogs that can reach weights of up to 25 pounds reach adulthood between 9 and 11 months
Medium breed dogs that reach a weight of up to 50 pounds reach adulthood between 12 and 14 months
Large breed dogs that reach a weight of up to 75 pounds reach adulthood between 15 and 18 months
Giant dogs with a weight that surpasses 80 pounds reach adulthood between 18 and 24 months
Each dog breed is different. You might need to investigate further to find out about when your puppy reaches adulthood. You might not even know when these big steps are coming up and you have a few solutions to find out.
If your dog is a rescue, you can call the shelter to find out a bit more information about the dog and its expected age of reaching adulthood. But if your dog is a pure breed, you can investigate the general adulthood stage of that particular type of dog. However, if you aren’t sure about the breed of your dog or if you think your dog might take a bit longer to become mature, you will need to discuss the topic with your veterinarian.
Why is switching important?
You might think that switching the nutritional approach from puppy food to adult dog food isn’t that important, to begin with. But there are differences in puppy food and adult food, mainly in the number of calories per serving as small dogs need more calories to grow rapidly.
As a result, you will be feeding puppy food to an adult dog which can then lead to possible weight gain issues. Overweight dogs are hard to deal with as they need to go back on a restricted-calorie diet and its simply best to prevent these issues. A few results of delaying then moment when to switch to adult dog food include the following.
Possible damage to joints and ligaments
It’s unlikely to see any obesity-related problems with your dog when it has been eating puppy food only a few months into adulthood. But when you keep your pooch on puppy food with constant overeating, you expose your companion to possible damage to the joints. The extra weight carried around is mostly going to be fat.
Sugar diabetes is going to be another concern on very high calories consume for long periods. If you delay switching for up to a year, it’s going to represent the 10th part of your dog’s life in some situations. That’s the equivalent of human overeating for at least 5 years.
All this extra weight that your dog can carry around also comes with other issues. For example, your dog might already start to show signs of difficulty in breathing. You want your dog to be able to run around freely with no respiratory problems and this is why you need to adapt the food.
The result of constant overeating isn’t necessarily a medical issue of the first degree. Your dog might simply have decreases stamina. This means overall energy levels are low from the extra carrier weight which puts your pooch in a difficult situation keeping up with other dog friends.
How to switch to adult dog food?
Now that you know the importance of switching and what happens if you delay the process for a long period, here’s how you can turn your friendly pet into a full-grown adult even with nutrition.
You need at least 4 days to completely switch out puppy food with adult dog food
As with any changes in your dog’s life, they should be gradual. Most dogs are going to feel the change but if you do it gradually, it’s not going to upset their digestive system.
This is the day when you add a very small amount of adult dog food to the old puppy food bowl. A maximum of ¼ of the bowl is going to be filled with this new food.
Your dog might leave it there or it might be something that is not even noticed and consumed instantly together with the rest of the food.
On the second day, you add ½ adult dog food to the feeding bowl. It’s here you find that your dog notices the food properly.
This process should not be complicated as the taste can even be the same with certain brands of food. It’s just the calories and the kibble size that’s going to be different.
On the third day, you add ¾ new adult dog food mixed with ¼ old puppy food. This day is the first day of your dog’s adult life. The dog is now starting to say goodbye to puppyhood.
On the 4th and final day of the switch, you add 100% adult dog food to the bowl. Your pooch is now a full adult and you should check for possible stomach upset although this should not be the case for most dogs.
Switch the dog treats
When you’re fully transitioning your dog to an adult diet, you can switch out other snacks and treats as well. Many treats are only made for puppies. Even their size is different from adult treats.
Remember general guidelines may not apply to your dog
Most of this data is gathered for the average dog breed size. However, the facts differ from one case to another. If you’ve been with your dog to the vet, you might have heard that each mutt is different and that you shouldn’t worry too much about the exact switch period.
This is certainly true for many dogs that are simply growing up faster or slower. You can also test your dog out with large kibble in very small quantities before you make the switch. Most dogs will tackle it differently.
Can I use the same brand of dog food for puppies and adult dogs?
Most dog food brands make both puppy and adult dog food. You can use the same brand if you’ve built trust in a particular company. At the same time, adult dogs have fully developed digestive systems and they can take brand and recipe switches a lot better.
If you’re considering changing up the dog food due to financial reasons or just because you want your dog to enjoy different flavors of food, its best to do this after completely switching to adult food and sticking with it for a couple of months.
Do I feed an adult dog the same as a puppy?
Another change you need to make in the life of your pooch is with feeding time. If a puppy its more frequently (typically 4 times per day), an adult dog its less frequently (typically 2 times per day).
You shouldn’t overfeed your dog either. If you take a look at dog food recommendations, you’ll notice your mutt is advised to eat in the morning and early in the evening. As a young adult dog, your pet is still highly trainable. This is the best time to lay the foundation for meal frequency and meal timing for the rest of its life.
Regardless of the exact period of the food switch, you should have plenty of patience with your dog. If you see your dog isn’t quite fully ready to eat adult food, you can slow down the process to make the adjustment a bit easier.
The shortest switch period is 4 days, as recommended by most dog food producers. The longest switch period is 10 days, as seen with a few rare dog food brands.
The ingredients of the food are also important. If your puppy hasn’t been accommodated with fish-based dog food up to adulthood, maybe it’s best to stick to chicken-based grain-free food at first, until fully transitioned. You can fully diversify the type of food you give your dog once accustomed to adult-size kibble.
Since you need to visit your vet a few times while your dog is a puppy, you can also discuss this transition during your visits. Vets know your dog personally. They might give you very specific recommendations on the types of food to start adulthood with.