Your puppy’s transition to adult dog food needs to begin when they approach the typical adult height. It also depends on the breed type as it determines when to change the dog’s diet much sooner. Small breed dogs, for example, have a higher tendency to mature faster than larger breed dogs. If you are not sure when to switch to adult dog food, read along for the answers.
How Long to Feed Puppy Food
Puppies require a complete and balanced puppy food regiment until they reach maturity. Most pet parents seek only the best puppy food to achieve this requirement. Generally for dogs, adulthood is more dependent on the breed size than it does the age. The larger dogs take a longer time to mature. Typically, dogs that weigh 20 pounds or less when fully grown are ready for adult food when they reach nine months.
However, the large breed puppies, which weigh more than 50 pounds when fully grown, may not be ready to switch to an adult diet until the age of eighteen months. The medium-sized mixed breeds, which weigh between 21 and 50 pounds, would reach maturity at 12 months. Though, if you have a mixed breed type of dog and are not sure how big the dog would be when they reach maturity, it would be advisable to consult the veterinarian. They would be the ones to tell you when to switch to the best dog food for adult canines and then a transition to that.
How is Puppy Food Different?
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), there are certain minimums required when it comes to the healthy growth and maintenance of typical dogs . Puppies, for example, would need 22% protein and 8% fat to fuel growth.
It is different for adult dogs as they need 18% protein and 5% fat within the diet. The protein needs of dogs seem to vary depending on their age and life stage. Puppy food tends to have a higher level of protein, for example, and that would fuel the growth and nutrients found within its mother’s milk .
When your dog is fed puppy food, it also leads to a higher level of phosphorous and calcium to support the development of its bones. As the puppy reaches maturity, their growth slows, and their diet is adjusted to prevent overgrowth. The higher levels of protein would be needed to increase the development, but once it reaches maturity, the protein consumption rate wanes. The best fresh dog food brands and the best dog food delivery service companies today typically offers free assessments of pets to determine the proper meal plans guided by dogs’ nutritional needs.
Importance of Adult Dog Food
Puppy food is rich in nutrients and high in calories, which would support the puppy’s growth and energy levels. If you continue to feed the puppy past the point of maturity, it will cause them to become overweight, which could precipitate other health issues.
The adult food is there as a means of stabilization, so the puppy does not feed beyond the recommended bounds of what is available. Depending on the veterinarian’s advice, you can also go for a complete and balanced high-quality dog food formula when your pup reaches the level of maturity. That is to help them reach the ideal body condition.
Make the Switch Gradually
When it comes to transitioning from a puppy to adult dog, as well, the way to go is slow and steady. If you decide to make a sudden change in the diet, it can lead to stomach problems, which will be unpleasant for everyone involved. The way to go is to mix a small amount of adult food with puppy food. As time goes by, you can increase the proportion of the adult food to the younger puppy food, so they gradually get used to it. In the event the puppy experiences digestive problems along the way, you can reduce the ratio of the adult dog food for a day before returning to the preplanned schedule. Most vets claim the process will take between one and two weeks before the puppies become used to the adult dog food.
Look for the Signs
Dogs in the formative stages have a higher energy need than adults as they are excited about everything. Towards the point of maturity, though, you will notice their metabolism will slow down.
The dog will then show signs when they are ready to transition to adult meals. For one, they may get fuller quicker because the energy reserves are filled quicker. During that time, the puppies can skip meals or leave food which they would have normally consumed. It is a sign they need less rich food and can transit to adult food.
When to switch to adult dog food?
Often, you need to wait until the dog is fully grown before you transition to adult food. It also depends on the size as the small and medium dog breeds mature at nine months to one year. Large breed dogs that become more than 50 pounds will transition after 18 months.
What happens if a puppy eats adult dog food?
Adult pet food is not toxic to puppies, and the pup will not become sick from eating a bowl of kibble. They may get a stomach upset, but there is nothing to worry about concerning long term damage.
What age should a dog change to adult food?
The age a puppy should transition to adult food depends upon the breed. If it is a small or medium-sized breed dog, then you can transition it at nine months. Large-sized breeds, though would transition at 18 months.