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Feeding my puppy

Know When to Switch From Puppy to Adult Dog Food

Puppy Feeding FAQ's

There are several reasons to switch up your pet's diet. Perhaps your adorable little puppy has matured into an adult and is ready to transition to a lower-calorie dog food. Or perhaps, your dog has developed certain health issues that necessitate a special diet. Whatever the cause, transitioning your dog’s food is a major undertaking. You need to know when to switch puppy to dog food.

Following are some general rules of nutritional needs for dog food at different stages of life.

Puppies (Ages 4 - 6 weeks to 9 - 24 months)

  • If you’re wondering, when to start feeding puppies, then know that puppy food should be offered until the puppies are fully grown.
  • Puppies mature at varying rates depending on their size. Puppies that are small and medium-sized tend to grow faster and are considered full-grown around 9 months of age.
  • On the contrary, large breed dogs like Retrievers and Labradors take longer to reach skeletal maturity and are considered grown at 15 months of age, and 18 – 24 months for an enormous breed like Mastiffs and Danes.
  • Puppies have higher calorie and protein requirements than adult dogs. Excess calories and protein, on the other hand, can be harmful since it leads puppies to develop too quickly, which can lead to joint problems later in life.

Adults (Age 1 to 6 - 8 years)

  • When to switch from puppy to dog food is one of the most frequently asked questions by pet owners. The most seamless method to do this is to buy an adult food bag when you buy the last bag of puppy food, then gradually mix the two feeds together over the course of a week, gradually increasing the ratio of the new food.
  • According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which sets nutritional criteria for complete and balanced pet diets, adult dogs require at least 18% protein and 5.5% fat in their daily calories.

Senior (Age 6 - 10 years)

  • Obesity and gastrointestinal problems are common complaints among senior dogs. As a result, elderly dogs may benefit from a lower-calorie, higher-fiber meal.

Pregnant

  • Dogs that are pregnant or nursing have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. These dogs must be fed calorie-dense and high-protein food.
  • They need foods with a protein content of at least 22%.
  • A good way to accomplish these criteria is to feed puppy food to a nursing or pregnant dog. Puppies, like pregnant and nursing dogs, require more calories and protein than other dogs, thus food designed for them is equally appropriate for moms and moms-to-be.

How long to feed puppy food based on breed size?

Adulthood is determined by breed size rather than age in dogs. Due to the fact that enormous and giant breeds take longer to mature, they require more puppy food than small or medium-sized breeds. It's best to contact your veterinarian if you have a mixed breed dog or are unsure of how big your dog will be at maturity. They'll be able to advise you on when to switch from puppy to dog food and also guide you through the process.

Weaning Puppies: Puppy to Adult Food

Puppies grow very quickly, so they need specialist puppy food with extra energy, protein, calcium and phosphorus. Switching them to an adult diet too early can result in bone and joint abnormalities.

How do you know the right time to switch to adult food? You need to wait until your dog is physically mature. As a rough guide this will be:

  • 9-12 months for toy, small and medium breeds like Chihuahuas and Springer Spaniels
  • 12-15 months for large breeds like Labradors and Retrievers 
  • 18-24 months for giant breeds like Great Danes and Newfoundlands.

If you’re unsure when to switch your puppy over to adult dog food, you can always check with your vet.

Click here to learn more about feeding your puppy.

Puppy Feeding FAQ's

Can I feed my puppy adult food?

Puppies and adult dogs have different calorie and nutritional requirements. Eating the wrong food for their developmental stage occasionally won’t harm your puppy but regularly feeding your puppy adult food isn’t recommended. See our article on changing from puppy to adult food for more information on when to make the switch.

How do I convert grams to ounces?

Simply divide the grams figure by 28 to get ounces. For example, 336g = 12oz.

How can I get my puppy to switch to Pedigree® puppy food?

Any change to your puppy’s diet should be made slowly to avoid tummy upsets. Gradually introduce the new food over a 5 – 7-day period. Mix the new food into their diet by adding a spoonful at a time and continue until the whole meal consists of the new food.

My puppy isn’t eating very well – is there anything I can do to make the food more appealing?

Puppies can go off their food from time to time. You can encourage them to eat by:

  • heating canned or wet food to body temperature before feeding
  • moistening dry food by adding warm (but not boiling) water
  • mixing a small amount of Pedigree® puppy wet or canned into dry food.

Can I soften Pedigree® puppy complete with water before feeding?

You can moisten dry dog food by adding warm (but not boiling) water. Offer the food to your puppy when the meal has cooled, and the food has soaked up the water. Encourage them to eat the food dry if you can because it’s good for your puppy’s teeth.

How to transition from puppy food to adult dog?

Mixing your existing dog food with the new dog food for about 5 days is the ideal approach to transitioning your dog's food. This enables your dog's digestive system to adjust without experiencing gastrointestinal problems.

  • Day 1: Start the adjustment phase for clean digestion by feeding 75% of your dog’s current (old) diet and mixing in 25% of the new food in each meal.
  • Day 2: Switch to feeding 60% of your previous food and 40% new food in each serving.
  • Day 3: Mix 50% of your old food with 50% of your new food in each dish.
  • Day 4: Feed 40% of your old food every serving, combined with 60% of the new food.
  • Day 5: Mix 25% of your old food with 75% of the new food in each serving.
  • Day 6: Serve 90-100% of the new food – you should be nearing the end of your dog’s digestive transition period at this point.

Note: Divide the daily serving amount into two meals: one in the morning and the other in the evening.

What are the symptoms while transitioning dog food?

When changing a dog’s food, make sure to keep a close check on your dog during this period. Here are some things to keep in mind to make sure it doesn't have an upset stomach or any other health issues.

  • Verify that your dog continues to drink the recommended amount of water.
  • Your dog's gas should ideally remain low. So, if your dog is constantly passing gas, that means it is not being able to process the new diet properly.
  • Your dog’s stools should be normal. Although it may sound disgusting, it's critical to keep an eye on your dog's poop to ensure it's not too runny. The presence of runny stool raises fears of diarrhea and dehydration.

What to do if the dog is not able to adjust the change in dog food?

Slow down the procedure and give your dog more time to adjust to the new food if you notice a lot of change in these areas. The majority of symptoms connected with an upset stomach should be alleviated by this progressive process of transitioning dog food. Consider gradually reverting to the old diet if the dog food transition isn't working, no matter how gently you go with the meal shift. It's possible that your dog is allergic to the new food. Consult your veterinarian if more significant problems emerge during the changeover.

Frequently Asked Questions on Transitioning Dog Food:

How long will a dog have diarrhea after switching food?

In general, diarrhea caused by switching diets should last no more than 3 or 4 days at the most. Some dogs may take up to a week to adapt to the new diet but that is pushing it. In most cases, dogs acclimate to their new meal in two or three days.

Do you need to transition to the same brand of dog food?

Can you switch between dog food flavours?

Should a dog eat the same food every day?

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