What Happens If I Feed My Puppy Regular Dog Food
At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned that if a puppy eats the occasional bit of adult dog chow, its no real cause for concern. However, if you switch from puppy food to adult dog food too early, it can lead to several health problems, some of which can affect your dog for its entire life.
For example, many adult dog foods contain fillers and sugars that are incredibly unhealthy for a puppy. Also, as we talked about earlier, puppies grow rapidly and need a lot more fat, protein, and minerals than adult dogs. If you feed them adult dog food, they wont get those vitally essential nutrients and wont grow and mature optimally.
Puppies also have weaker jaw muscles and smaller mouths, making it difficult for them to eat some brands and types of dog food which are larger and harder. Even worse, the teeth in a puppys mouth are softer than an adults. Chewing on harder, larger pieces of adult dog food can break their teeth and, in severe cases, dislocate their jaw.
One last thing to keep in mind is that puppies have stomachs that are more sensitive than adult dogs. For that reason, its difficult for them to tolerate the nutritional content of adult dog food. Its harder for them to digest also, which can upset their stomach and cause digestive problems as well as growth and maturity problems.
Changing Puppy Food: When To Transition To Adult Dog Food
When you first get a puppy, you should be feeding them a high-quality, nutritionally balanced puppy food that will help them grow and develop into healthy adult dogs. However, dogs nutritional needs change at each life stage, so at some point you will need to make the transition to a food suitable for older dogs. Read on to learn more about changing puppy food and how to successfully make the move to adult dog food.
Can Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food The Ultimate Guide
You are a new puppy owner ! Congratulations! Its exciting to welcome a new pup into your home. No doubt the question of puppy food has reared its head a few times.
What is the best type of puppy food to buy? And is puppy food even necessary? Is it just repackaged adult food that simply serves to confuse you? Dont worry – we are going to debunk the whole thing. If you have ever wondered if puppies can eat adult dog food, you are in the right place.
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What About Foods For All Life Stages Are They Safe For Puppies
In addition to foods that are labelled as being appropriate for growth and reproduction or adult maintenance,you may also see foods bearing a label that indicates they are appropriate for all life stages.
These foods are appropriate for most healthy dogs , so you can go ahead and feed them to your puppy.
These foods are designed to meet the requirements for growth and reproduction and adult maintenance. But because the nutritional requirements for puppy foods exceed those of typical adult foods, it means these are essentially puppy food.
Because they have higher protein and fat content than many adult foods, you will want to keep an eye on the body weight of adult dogs fed such recipes.
But as long as your pooch stays nice and svelte, theyre fine for adults too. This extra protein also makes puppy food or all life stages food a great dog food for weight gain if youre trying to get a thin dog to a healthier weight.
Is It Ok To Feed My Puppy An Adult Food
Is it OK to feed my puppy adult food? There might be several reasons why someone might consider feeding their puppy adult food. Often times, it is a matter of convenience, there is already an adult dog in the house and it is easier to buy one food instead of two. Sometimes the puppy wants to eat what big sister or brother is eating. But sometimes pet owners feed their puppies an adult dog food in the mistaken belief that they can feed lower amounts of calcium and phosphorous.
High levels of calcium and phosphorous have been implicated in causing or worsening joint disease, such as osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia. And it is true that abnormally high amounts of those two minerals can result in an increase in the level of bone being formed, especially during growth. This was a huge problem in the 1970s and 80s when many breeders gave supplements in hopes of their puppies growing larger in stature than they otherwise would.
Veterinary nutritionists spend years of their lives studying nutrition in animals. It would be highly unlikely that anyone, no matter how good their intentions might be, would come up with a better plan in their own kitchen. As long as you are feeding a trusted brand-name dog food, and not some boutique brand that wasnt designed by a veterinary nutritionist, you can believe and feel confident in the recommendations of the manufacturer.
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Is It Ever Okay To Give An Adult Dog Puppy Food
Unlike cat food, puppy food does have all the components a dog needs, so an occasional treat will do them no harm.
Owners of high agility working dogs often give them puppy food to provide them with extra protein, fats and nutrients. However, dogs need to be running for more than an hour to qualify as high agility working dogs.
Another instance when puppy food works for adult dogs is when the adult is a lactating mother. Feeding and raising puppies burn off a lot of energy for new mothers and they benefit a lot from the extra calories in puppy food. The Goodness Lamb & Rice Recipe is a high-calorie formula made for lactating mothers, puppies and working adult dogs.
In both the above cases, pet parents and trainers must know when to wean the dog off the puppy food. Having it for too long can make even the most active dogs obese.
Whats The Difference Between Puppy Adult And Senior Dog Food
Puppy, adult, and senior dog foods are all formulated differently to accommodate the changing needs of dogs as they transition between life stages. A dogs nutritional needs will change as they get older, just like humans. Puppy food is formulated to consider all the expended calories associated with growing.
Its typically recommended that puppies be switched to adult food sometime between the six to twelve-month mark. This is a ballpark estimate based on when most dogs start to reach their adult height and weight.
Conversely, as your dog ages, it will need fewer and fewer calories the older it gets. Since dogslike peoplebecome less mobile and active as they age, theyll need to be put on senior dog food. Senior dog foods are formulated with fewer calories than adult food, with extra fiber to help digestion.
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Since Puppies Are Growing Rapidly They Have Different Nutritional Needs And Should Not Eat Adult Dog Food Until Theyre Fully Grown
While you might treat your dogs meals as a form of entertainment or a reward, its easy to forget that the primary purpose of dog food is to serve as fuel for the body. A growing puppys needs are so unique that the Association of American Feed Control Officials has two distinct nutrient profiles based on a dogs life stage: growth and reproduction and adult maintenance. Choosing the right food and transitioning to adult dog food can be challenging.
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Whats The Difference Between Large And Small Breed Dog Food
Small breed adult dogs require more calories-per-pound than large dogs, and they also need smaller kibbles, which is why diets especially formulated for small breeds are usually best. However, while small dogs might need more calories per pound than larger dogs, that does not mean that owners should overfeed them.
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How Long To Feed Puppy Food
Puppies need a complete and balanced puppy food until they reach maturity. Although dogs who are one year or older are often considered adults, this isnt always the case.
For dogs, adulthood depends more on breed size than their age. Because large and giant breeds take longer to mature, they need to eat puppy food longer than small- or medium-sized breeds.
Heres how long to feed puppy food based on breed sizes:
- Toy and Small Breed Dogs: Many toy and small breed dogs weigh less than 20 pounds at maturity and reach this size between 9 and 10 months of age.
- Medium Dog Breeds: Medium-sized dogs weigh between 21 and 50 pounds at maturity. They tend to reach maturity around 12 months of age.
- Large & Giant Breeds: Large breeds and giant breeds weigh between 50 and 100 pounds, respectively, and can take 18 months to 2 full years to reach maturity. They need to eat puppy food longer than small- and medium-sized breeds.
If you have a mixed breed dog or arent sure how big your dog will be at maturity, its best to consult with your veterinarian. They can tell you when to switch to an adult dog food and help make it a successful transition.
As puppies get older and reach maturity, it is important to monitor their food consumption. Leftovers in a bowl could signal that your puppy is getting full and needs less calories throughout the day. Start by offering less food per feeding and continue to monitor his body condition, says Purina Nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS.
When Is A Dog Considered An Adult
When a dog reaches 90% of its expected adult weight, its considered an adult for feeding purposes, according to The Merck Veterinary Manual. An adult dog diet, or maintenance diet, contains nutrients suited for animals that have passed their growth stage. Most of a puppys growth occurs by 6 or 7 months of age, but large and giant breeds can continue to grow for 12 months or beyond.
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The Best Type Of Calories For Puppies
Feeding a more calorie-dense food is important, but make sure those extra calories are coming from healthy proteins and fats. Compared to calories from carbohydrates, high protein and fat contain not only a longer-lasting energy source to feed their brain but also the nutrients that your pup needs to properly develop. What is the difference between puppy food and dog food?
Omega fatty acids like EPA and DHA, as well as appropriate quantities of all essential amino acids, are vital to proper growth and development.
Adult food often contains these nutrients, but not necessarily in the same quantities needed for a growing pup. Learn more about your puppys dietary needs in What Should I Feed My Puppy?
What Is The Best Type Of Food For Your Puppy
In Australia, it can be hard to find high-quality puppy food. Our largely unregulated pet food industry makes it easy for nasty preservatives and harmful chemicals to skate through unnoticed to unsuspecting dog owners.
The effects of these preservatives are a slow burn so its difficult to spot but starting your pup on the highest quality food you can in their early life will set them up for the healthiest growth and development possible. This is why we always recommend that you look out for puppy food brands that follow AAFCO guidelines.
If AAFCO states that a food provides complete and balanced nutrition, it means that if thats all you feed your puppy, he will be getting all of the nutrients he needs. – Dr. Heather Loenser, PetMD
Its an extra seal of quality that your puppy is getting the very best of the best on the market. AAFCO accredited brands are also best continued throughout your dogs life.
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Can Adult Dogs Eat Puppy Food
Short answer yes, but they probably shouldnt. Puppy foods are specifically designed to accommodate growth. Once your dog has reached adulthood, the only way a puppy food will help them grow is out.
Obesity is already a big problem for pets, so feeding a high-calorie food, like puppy food, to a dog that doesnt use those calories willlead to unwanted weight gain.
Is puppy food bad for adult dogs? This is not to say that puppy food is never recommended for adult dogs. Under special circumstances, and with a vet’s recommendation, puppy foods can be fed to adult dogs temporarily. Here are a few situations that might warrant feeding puppy food:
- Pregnancy/weaning – pregnant and nursing dogs are giving most of their calories and nutrients to their pups. Puppy food is a great way to ensure that mom is getting enough of the right nutrients until the pups are done being weaned.
- Underweight in some cases of severe weight loss caused by starvation or illness, your vet might recommend feeding a calorie-dense diet like puppy food to help get more calories in smaller portions. This will allow your skinny dog to build muscle faster.
- High energy Some breeds have a need for speed and a typical diet just cant meet their energy needs. To maintain muscle and energy, a puppy formula might help to keep them energized and strong.
Outside of the above special cases, puppy food vs adult food for an adult dog full-time isnt recommended.
How Much To Feed A Senior Dog
Golden oldies need to eat even less than their middle-aged counterparts. Like people, a dogs metabolism gets slower as they age. Theyll need less food to function, burn less calories as they once did, and gain weight more easily.
When your dog reaches senior status its essential to cut back their calories again. Being overweight isnt ideal for any dog, but for seniors prone to joint and ligament issues its even more harmful.
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When Should My Puppy Switch To Eating Regular Dog Food
Typically, a puppys nutritional needs change between 18 and 24 months of age. They also, in many cases, get spayed or neutered during this time which lowers their need for food that delivers increased energy.
Unlike humans, there are many different types and breeds of dogs, and they mature at different rates. Smaller dog breeds tend to mature much faster than larger dog breeds, and some can be fully mature as early as 9 months old. Large breeds, however, might not be fully mature until 14 months of age.
The biggest dog breeds, including Great Danes, can take a full two years to reach full maturity. For that reason, its always best to talk to your veterinarian before switching your puppy from puppy food to adult dog food.
Typically though, its a gradual transition, and thus can often be done without the need for a veterinarian visit. Experts recommend switching from puppy food to adult dog food between 18 and 24 months. Again, however, the breed and size of your puppy do make a difference.
Is It Bad To Feed An Older Dog Puppy Food
Its not necessarily bad to feed an older pet puppy meal. Is this type of food is designed to help an animal grow, it may be hard to handle weight control if an older dog is regularly requesting puppy food.
An easy way to start the process of switching begins with slowly mixing in a new type of meal with your adult dog. Making a choice to gradually mix in a ratio of adult dog food with puppy meal will help to make sure that your pet can lower its calories and slowly work at transitioning onto meal thats much more age-appropriate.
Older dogs receiving puppy foods can be especially damaging. Adult pets in their senior years can run into a series of kidney problems and obesity problems. The diets of the senior dog are often designed to be very low in calories as well as low in protein. Higher levels of protein can place extra stress on the kidneys, and these are precisely the types of nutrients that you able often find in puppy meal.
When a senior animal has access to extra protein and the extra calories that can be found in puppy meal, its easy for them to put weight on and to also exacerbate some of the symptoms that are associated with kidney problems. It could be dangerous for an older dog to eat puppy food regularly, so if you have a new dog in the house that is on puppy meal, it could be wise to keep that older dog away from the food.
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When To Transition Your Puppy To Adult Food
If you have a tiny breed, they might mature more quickly. You could change to an adult recipe a little earlier than a year, roughly at nine months.
On the opposite side, if you have a giant breed, they might need puppy chow for a little longer since they dont stop growing until they are between one and two years old. Once you know your dog is fully developed, your vet can give you the cue to make the transition.