How To Transition Puppy To An Adult Dog Food
When you stop feeding puppy food, you must change more than just the food he eats. The number of meals and portion sizes will shift, too.
Most puppies eat three meals a day, but adult dogs can eat just two meals per day. The feeding guide on your dogs food label will tell you how much to feed your dog each day and to split the amount into two meals.
When its time to transition your puppy to an adult dog food, do so gradually. A gradual transition helps prevent stomach upset.
Heres a sample transitional feeding plan:
- Days 1 to 2: Feed 3/4 of the normal amount of puppy food and add 1/4 adult dog food.
- Days 3 to 4: Serve half puppy food and half adult dog food.
- Days 5 to 7: Feed 1/4 puppy food and 3/4 adult dog food.
- Days 8 to 10: Serve only adult dog food.
If your dog resists eating the adult food or experiences an upset stomach, extend the transition time as needed. Consult with your veterinarian for more help if needed.
What Can I Feed My Puppy When They Are Able To Eat Dry Food
So, your puppy has made it to a point where theyve developed a strong set of baby teeth, and can now start munching away at whatever they fancy as long as its not the curtains.
After a few months, youre likely to be an expert in mushing kibble and liquid a master of measurements, an eagle eye at feeding time. Like we said, its a process. But just because your puppy now has teeth, it doesnt mean you can let them indulge in whatever they want. Theres still plenty of development to be done, so you need to make sure theyre eating healthy puppy food, with:
- High calories: puppies need a lot of energy, because they have so much growing to do. This is why most puppy foods will be higher in calories than most adult alternatives.
- Extra Protein: puppies need lots of protein to help their muscles and organs develop.
- Lots of nutrients: your pup needs all of the essentials, like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and the all-important Vitamin D.
- Glucosamine: the miracle ingredient that supports the development of teeth and bones.
- Digestible Ingredients: foods that are easily absorbed, so they get every drop of nutritious goodness.
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Keep An Eye On Their Size And Weight
The puppy pudge and potbelly should be gone by the time your young dog reaches one year old. At the same time, they shouldnt look too skinny or underweight.
Generally speaking, you should see a dip between the stomach and hips if youre looking at your puppy from the top down. Its OK if their ribs are showing, you just dont want their skin to look sunken between them. They should be lanky, not emaciated.
Puppy Development The Baby To The Teenager To The Adult Dog
Adorable. Surprisingly obedient. Love to be around you. Often bolder than youd expect. Sleeps a lot.
Personality developing. More cautious about certain scenarios. A little more mischievous. Willing to explore more. Sleeps a lot.
A little less obedient. High energy. Sleeps far less. More interested in food. More demanding and in pursuit of mental stimulation.
Personality shining through like a beacon. Sometimes obedient, sometimes wilfully challenges instructions that you know for certain the pup understands.
Physically very active, but prone to exhausting themselves quickly in short bursts.
At 12-months old your dogs needs are different, particularly their nutritional requirements.
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More Puppy Feeding And Growth Resources
If you want to find out the best way to feed an adult Labrador, then check out our article on how to feed a Labrador here.
One of the best places to get help and support in feeding your puppy is, of course, our wonderful forum. It is packed full of puppy advice and information, and lots of other new puppy owners and experienced Labrador owners are only too happy to advise and support you.
If this is your first puppy, dont waste any more time get yourself over to the forum now wed love to meet you. And dont forget to bring some photos with you, because we simply love puppy pictures too.
Can You Free Feed Your Goldendoodle Puppy
Free feeding is the process where you set the daily allowed amount of food out for your dog and he just eats it as he goes throughout the day.
This can work well for some dogs, especially ones who have more self-control and knows how to listen to their stomachs. This is not the cast with a Goldendoodle puppy.
The puppy is going to eat the entire allotment in the first meal and then later when he is hungry again, he is going to look for food. Puppies need three meals a day and should not be free-fed.
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What Is Puppy Food Made Of
The transition from puppy food to adult food is an important time in your dogs life. It marks a stage of substantial growth and sets the puppy up for adulthood. Regarding how long do you feed puppy food, you need to understand what this puppy food precisely is.
In terms of a puppys diet, puppy food generally contains more protein content than adult dog food in order to sustain this new growth at a faster rate. Calories also play a crucial role in this stage and at this time, a puppy will generally eat a lot. Depending on the breed of dog, most puppies will continue growing during the first year of life.
Puppy foods provide the extra calories and nutrients that young dogs need until they are at least one year old. Depending on the breed of your dog, your vet will be able to tell you when to change from puppy food, more specifically, the exact age of your puppy.
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Dry Vs Wet Puppy Food
This can make it harder to decide what to feed your puppy. Fortunately, as long as both the wet and dry formulas are complete and balanced for growing puppies, you can feed either one to your pup with confidence.
You and your puppy may have a preference when it comes to dry versus wet. Feeding a combination of the two is also an option.
According to Purina Nutritionist, Allison Millican, PhD, If youre feeding your puppy a combination of wet and dry food, it is extremely important to ensure the total caloric value does not fall short or exceed their daily energy requirement. Use the calories reported on the package to understand how much wet food will replace the dry and vice versa. This allows you to calculate the amount of each product needed to meet your puppys nutritional requirements.
For example, Millican explains, one thirteen-ounce can of wet puppy food may contain four hundred and seventy-five kilocalories and replace approximately one cup of a dry puppy formula with a similar value of kilocalories per cup. In this scenario, you could substitute a thirteen-ounce can of wet food for one cup of the daily dry food recommendation.
The brand websites and your veterinarian are great resources and can help you develop a feeding plan specifically for your puppys needs.
When Should I Stop Feeding Puppy Food
The right time to transition from puppy food to adult food varies for each dog. Your puppys age, breed, expected adult size, and current health status will all impact when the diet change should occur.
For most dogs, its recommended to wait until they are fully grown before changing to an adult diet. Small and medium-breed dogs are typically finished growing at around 8 to 12 months of age, while large and giant breeds may not reach their full adult size until 18 months of age. If youre unsure of your dogs breed, a good rule of thumb is to wait until your dog is about a year old.
Some dogs may need to transition earlier if they have medical problems that can be managed with diet changes, such as food allergies or digestive issues. Your veterinarian can help you decide the best time to make the transition and choose an adult dog food that will be best suited to your dog.
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I Was Told That Puppies Should Eat All They Want 3 Or 4 Times Per Day Is That True
Feeding a puppy all it can eat at one time is called ‘ad libitum‘ or ‘free choice’ feeding. This is not recommended as it can create juvenile obesity, binge eaters, as well as set the stage for some orthopedic problems and diabetes. Over-eating at any one meal can also cause stomach discomfort and bloating causing slower digestion. Dogs are acknowledged to have a genetically determined “set point” for their adult size. Slower, controlled growth in puppies optimizes body condition in adulthood.
My Puppy Is Begging Should I Feed Him People Food Or Table Scraps
One little French fry will invariably lead to another, and another. Before long, an obese dog will be crowding you off the love seat. Also, a steady diet of table scraps can create a nutritional imbalance, and certain ingredients and spices in your favorite dishes can cause upset stomach in dogs.
The pleading gaze of a begging dog can be irresistible. This is no accident. During his long partnership with man, the dog has perfected cunning methods of exploiting the human habit of associating food with affection. In prehistoric times semi-domesticated canines first cultivated human beings as a food provider. As the two species grew closer, dogs modified begging behaviors to maximize results: The more pathetic a dog seemed, the more scraps were tossed his way. Dogs have since refined this approach into a low-risk, high-reward hunting technique.
But dont be fooled: Begging is not an emotional crisis or a test of your love. Its what scientists might call an evolutionary survival strategy, or what the rest of us might call a scam. Allowing your dog to guilt you into overfeeding him, or serving him a steady diet of table scraps in a misguided show of affection, can have harmful or even fatal results.
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Following Puppy Feeding Quantity Guidelines
Just to complicate things, not every puppy in each age group will fall within the weights displayed on the chart above. Some owners may worry that there is something wrong with their puppy. However, dont worry, because our cuddly Labrador pups vary so much.
Quite simply, puppies of the same age vary in weight and size, so that means the amount of food you need to feed them will be different. Use the guidelines on the packet as a guide, then observe and feel your puppy to check how he is doing. You can always chat to your vet if you have any concerns.
We looked at the type of food and the amount, so we can now look at the feeding time routine. Lets start with where to feed your puppy.
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.
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Converting From Caloriesto Serving Size
Once youve entered your dogs ideal weight and activity level, youll know the number of calories per day.
However, to convert calories into something you can use, youll need to enter the number of calories in your dogs food.
The number of calories in a given amount of dog food is known as its metabolizable energy . Its usually reported somewhere on a dog food package like this
- Calories per cup
- Calories per kilogram
By the way, the calculator assumes youre feeding your dog just once a day.
If you prefer to feed your dog twice a day, be sure to divide your result in half so that both meals add up to the full daily calories suggested.
Watch Their Eating Habits
As puppies enter new growth stages, their calorie needs will automatically adjust and you should see this showing up in their appetite levels.
If your once-ravenous four-bowl-a-day pupper is almost three months old but has lost momentum in the clean bowl club, their body may be ready to transition to three meals a day.
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What If My Puppy Wont Eat
As most experienced Labrador owners know, not all puppies are greedy. And studies have shown that puppies in general eat more when they are fed in a group with other puppies
Many puppies go off their food for the first few days that that they spends in their new home. They eat a few bits of kibble then refuse any more. The puppy may eat from your hand but not their bowl. If your puppy wont eat at all for more than four hours, then call your vet for advice. Call sooner if the pup is listless or showing any signs of being unwell.
Otherwise, a somewhat reduced appetite, to begin with, is probably nothing to worry about. Just mention it to your vet when you take the pup for his first check up, or in the next day or two.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa’s online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website
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Lab Puppy Feeding Chart
The Lab puppy feeding chart below is only a very rough guide. The quantity of food you need for your puppy will vary depending on your puppy and on the brand of food you are feeding him.
Many food manufacturers provide similar dietary charts on the bag of food or on their website. You can also check with a vet or dog nutrition specialist to make sure that your puppy grows to be strong and healthy with just the right amount of food.
The diet charts are always useful when selecting the best dog food brand for your puppy.
How Long Do You Feed A Dog Puppy Food
As often as were asked how long do you feed a dog puppy food, its quite remarkable how many people are genuinely worried about moving their puppy to adult food either too soon or too late.
You should feed a puppy on puppy food while theyre younger than 12-months, but the transition process can start earlier.
Your dog is a puppy for as long as you want them to be. Nobody is going to tell you different. But in the interests of answering this specific question of how long do you feed a dog puppy food the appropriate time to stop feeding puppy specific food is no later than 12-months old.
Because in purely simplistic terms, at 12-months old your puppy is technically an adult.
Lets break down the puppy to adult dog process.
As you can see, puppy growth stages can seem like a flash before our eyes.
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