Feeding Your Puppy: A First
- 612 weeks: Growing pups should be fed puppy food, a diet specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs for normal development. Feeding adult food will rob your puppy of important nutrients. Four feedings a day are usually adequate to meet nutritional demands. Large breeds should be fed unmoistened dry food by 9 or 10 weeks small dogs by 12 or 13 weeks.
- 36 months: Sometime during this period, decrease feedings from four to three a day. A pup should be losing her potbelly and pudginess by 12 weeks. If she is still roly-poly at this age, continue to feed puppy-size portions until body type matures.
- 612 months: Begin feeding twice daily. Spaying or neutering lowers energy requirements slightly after the procedure, switch from nutrient-rich puppy food to adult maintenance food. Small breeds can make the switch at 7 to 9 months bigger breeds at 12, 13, even 14 months. Err on the side of caution: Better to be on puppy food a little too long than not long enough.
- After age 1: Most owners feed adult dogs two half-portions a day.
How And When To Transition Your Puppy To Adult Food
Puppies grow quickly, therefore requiring special food that contains more protein and calories than adult food. As they mature their nutritional requirements change and puppy food is no longer required so, transitioning to adult food at the right time can be crucial, and switching too early can result in bone and joint abnormalities. So, when is the right time to switch and what is the best way to go about it? Carry on reading for our top tips on how and when to transition your pup to adult food.
Timing is Key
Transitioning to adult food should coincide with maturity however this is not always universal among all dog breeds. Larger breeds mature slower than smaller breeds. In general, small and medium dogs reach maturity around 9-12 months, with large dogs at 12-15 months and giant breeds 18-24 months.
Watch for Signs
Growing puppies have higher energy needs than adult dogs but once they have reached maturity their metabolic rate slows. Your dog will give you signs when theyre ready to transition to adult food they may skip meals or leave food they would have normally eaten. The calorie-dense puppy food will have filled them up much quicker and fulfilled their energy demands when they have reached maturity.
Do it Gradually
How Much Do They Need?
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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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Dont Forget The Supplements
Even if youre feeding free-range, organic meats, the earth is not what it used to be. Your puppy will benefit from some supplementation.
Supplements to consider include:
- Phytoplankton whole food nutrition that contains nearly every nutrient your dog needs
- Nutritional herbs alfalfa, dandelion leaf, nettle and more
- Probiotics friendly bacteria that protects the body from bacteria, viruses and fungi
- Digestive enzymes break down and absorb nutrients from food
- Bovine colostrum helps to build a strong immune system
What Are The Signs That The Puppies Are Not Doing Well And What Do I Do
Puppies should eat or sleep 90% of the time during the first two weeks of life.
“If they are crying during or after eating, they are usually becoming ill, are not receiving adequate milk, or the mother’s milk has become infected .”
If they are crying during or after eating, they are usually becoming ill, are not receiving adequate milk, or the mother’s milk has become infected . A newborn puppy is very susceptible to infections and can die within a few hours of becoming ill. If excessive crying occurs, the mother and entire litter should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Puppies should gain 5-10% of their body weight daily. When the mother’s milk supply is inadequate to support this, supplemental feeding one to six times per day is recommended and should be performed routinely on any litter with greater than five puppies. There are several excellent commercial milk replacers available. They require no preparation other than warming. These milk replacers should be warmed to 95°to 100° before feeding. Its temperature can easily be tested on your forearm: it should be about the same temperature as your skin.
Any milk replacer that is used should contain optimal levels of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA , a nutrient that is important for the development of the puppies’ brains and eyes. Goat milk is not recommended as it is far too low in protein and fat. Supplemental feeding may be continued until the puppies are old enough to eat puppy food on their own.
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What Defines The Transition From Pup To Grown Up
- At around 4 months of age, puppies begin to lose their baby teeth and grow into their adult chompers. Baby teeth are weaker, so soft food is appropriate for puppies. Adult teeth come with the exciting new experience of eating harder foods.
- Physical maturity. When your dog becomes an adult, they will have stopped growing and will have become their full size!
- Sexual maturity. After a dog goes through their version of puberty they are considered adults.
When To Stop Soaking Puppy Food
The question pertaining to when to switch from puppy food is linked to the basic question of when to stop soaking puppy food. Well, soaked food like gruel or mush is ideal to be given for only the weaning period that is the initial 2 months of your puppy. Once this period is over, you should start changing from soaked food but the change should be gradual and one step at a time.
Smaller and larger breeds of puppies will start looking fully grown at between six and eight months and around 24 months respectively. But, they are still teenage puppies inside and therefore, still, need high-protein dog food to terminate their growth.
Whether it is a change from soaked food to dry ones or from one brand of food to another, the change should be gradual and also restricted. This is because your puppys stomach is very sensitive at this stage and can be easily upset with the change.
So, give them the time to adjust. The best way to go about it is by mixing a little bit of their old food to new one and then, slowly adding more over the course of 10 days till your puppy is used to eating the new form/brand of food.
When you switch from soaked or wet food to dry food, your puppy will automatically take some time to adjust. He will require more water to chew the food actively and will also take longer to eat. The texture will seem odd to him, so make sure food is tasty enough to draw his interest.
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What Can Puppies Eat
The Association of American Feed Control Officials establishes dog food guidelines, and in order for a dog food to be sold in stores as complete and balanced, it must meet AAFCOs nutritional profile standards. There are two dog food nutrient profiles that you should be aware of when choosing food for your puppy. One is growth and reproduction . The other is adult maintenance . Look at the label to ensure that you are buying a food that is right for your dogs life stage.
Can you feed a puppy adult food? If the label says that the dog food inside is formulated for all life stages, that means it meets the standards for both growth and reproduction and adult maintenance. In other words, its a food that has all the nutrients your growing puppy needs, and you wont have to switch to a new food when your puppy becomes an adult dog.
Can adult dogs eat puppy food? Adult dogs can eat puppy food, but should they? As a general rule, adult dogs do not need the highly caloric food, but there are some exceptions. Some extremely active dogs can handle the high caloric values in puppy food. And some food labels indicate that the food inside is formulated for all life stages, but generally it is best to feed foods appropriately formulated for adult dogs. Dogs have different nutritional needs than puppies, and it is important that they get the nutrients they require.
Is It Ok To Feed Your Dog Twice A Day
Veterinarians recommend feeding a dog at least twice per day. Dogs with medical issues or dietary needs may require specialized feeding schedules or restrictions on what they eat. Common large breed dogs, for instance, will often require more feedings and more calories per day than medium and small breed dogs.
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Remember The Other Important Puppy Stuff
Make sure your puppy has plenty of fresh, non-chlorinated water. He should also have plenty of fresh air and exercise. Exercise for young puppies should not be forced walks. His growing joints will suffer less stress if you take him outside for short play or training sessions instead. Keep the walks short about five minutes per month of age until he is about six months of age.
The Benefits Of Feeding Premium Food
Why move your grown-up pup to a premium adult dog food? Because quality counts. It’s crucial to continue his superb puppy nutrition into adulthood. Downgrading to a lower-quality brand at this stage of his life may upset his digestive system, and won’t provide him with the same level of nutritional excellence he was raised on.
Think of a baby. When it’s time to start giving him solid food, you wouldn’t dream of feeding your child anything less than the best nutrition you can buy. The same is true for your maturing puppy. He needs the best age-appropriate food there is to help maintain his overall health.
Premium foods, such as IAMS, are specifically designed to provide your dog with a food that has:
- High-quality ingredients
- Balanced, optimal levels of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals
- A nutrient-dense formulation appropriate for a particular life stage
- Consistent, high-quality, natural-ingredient recipes that do not change because of manufacturing costs
- Specific fatty-acid balance to help maintain healthy skin and coat
- Great palatability and taste, based on feeding trials
- Met or exceeded the Association of American Feed Control Officials guidelines
- Product guarantees
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Dry Food Wet Food Or Both
Many pet-food companies have worked with canine-nutrition scientists to develop special formulas for both large- and small-breed puppies.
- Canned food is the most expensive to feed, and dogs often find it most palatable. Be careful of all-meat claims, though. Your dog should have a complete, balanced diet to fulfill nutritional requirements. Meat alone may not do it.
- Semi-moist food is available in one-serving packets. It is usually made to look like hamburger.
- Kibble is the most economical, and the major makers offer a complete and balanced diet for dogs of all sizes and ages. Dry food can be fed exactly as it comes from the bag.
Some dog owners say there is an oral-hygiene advantage in hard kibble because the friction produced helps to keep the gums and teeth healthy. Kibble can be moistened, either with water or canned food. Although unnecessary, that addition may make food tastier.
When To Change From Puppy Food To Dog Food
During the first months of your dog’s life, food is essential to ensure proper growth and development. It’s the stage when more energy input is required and you should provide your dog with food that’s rich in nutrients and protein, calcium, phosphorus and fibre that has a high energy concentration. Getting rid of puppy food and starting with adult food before time can result in serious abnormalities, especially in the joints. To prevent this from happening and to know when to change from puppy food to dog food, check out this article at OneHowTo and we’ll give you all the details, depending on the breed of your dog.
The change of dog food from puppy to adult must be done at the end of the dog’s development and growth. Thus, your puppy’s breed plays a crucial role, since each one develops at a different time.
Small breeds, such as Chihuahuas or Yorkshire terriers, reach maturity long before the larger breeds. Puppies belonging to these breeds reach adult size at around 10 months old. Therefore, it’s at this point that you should change the puppy food to regular adult food and reduce the number of feeding times daily. If you want to know how much food to give your dog depending on its age and size, check out this article on how much to feed your dog.
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Grapes And Raisins: Cant Eat
You should never feed grapes or raisins to your dog.
Grapes and raisins contain toxic compounds that are harmful to dogs. They have the potential to lead to rapid kidney failure and death .
Even small amounts of grapes and raisins can make your dog sick, so its important to avoid giving them to your dog altogether.
How Do I Know If My Puppy Is Eating The Right Amount
Veterinarians evaluate dogs using a body conditioning score, which ranges from one for emaciated, to five for obese. It’s normal for very young puppies to have some baby fat, but after the first 8 to 10 weeks, “puppies should be a two”, Buffington says.
You can learn to assess your dog at home. At a score of two, which is relatively thin, a puppys ribs may be visible. The tops of the back bones will generally be easily seen. You shouldnt be able to feel any fat on its ribs. You should see a waist when looking down at your puppy and an abdominal tuck when looking from the side.
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Exploring New Food Options
Generally, the weaning process is started when the puppies are between 3 and 4 weeks of age, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This coincides with the time mother dogs start to evade the puppies and discourage nursing. This is the best time to introduce veterinarian-recommended mush since the puppies at this stage are naturally inclined to explore the world and look for other food sources.
How To Choose The Best Adult Dog Food
You should choose an adult dog food formula from a dog food company that has undergone AAFCO feeding trials. This means that the specific formulation of the diet has been fed to dogs to make sure there are no deficiencies. As surprising as it may seem, many dog food companies make their food based on a recipe and never feed it to actual dogs before sending it into the stores. You want to choose a pet food company that invests in scientific research and consults with veterinary nutritionists to provide a dog food that is specially balanced for the pets lifestage.
You will also want to pay close attention to the AAFCO statement on the adult dog food formula. If the food is labeled as an All Life Stage food, the formula may have more fat and phosphorus than your adult dog needs. Discuss with your veterinarian what is best for your dogs specific needs.
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When Can Puppies Eat Dry Food Without Water
Usually 8 weeks. At this point, puppies should have developed a full set of teeth and be able to eat dry food without any additional liquid. As ever, its important to reiterate that no two dogs are the same. If youre nine weeks into your puppys transition to dry food, and theyre still on mush, dont panic. Dogs will find their own way, as owners its our job to give them a gentle nudge in the right direction.
When Should A Puppy Transition To Adult Food
The age at which a puppy reaches adulthood can vary by breed and other factors. Typically, dogs will be fully grown by age 1, but large breed puppies may continue growing until age 2. Its important to stop feeding puppy food when the time is right and transition to an adult diet and decrease the amount of food so your dog does not become overweight.
Many dog foods are nutritionally formulated to meet the needs of both puppies and adult dogs so always refer to the label for the AAFCO nutritional statement!
Stella & Chewys offers a variety of raw and kibble diets that are formulated to meet your puppys needs. Learn more about choosing a diet for your puppy.
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Can Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food
What can puppies eat? Can I feed my puppy adult dog food? What food is the best for puppies? New puppy owners may find themselves asking these questions and more. Making sure your puppy has all the nutrition he needs is one of the most important things you can do to help him grow into a strong, healthy dog. Puppies and adult dogs have different nutritional needs, and as a result, its important to feed your puppy a complete and balanced food formulated for his life stage.
When can puppies start eating dog food? Generally, puppies begin to transition to adult food when they have reached maturity for their breed size. But this varies widely. Its important to not rush to feed a puppy adult food since he is building the bones, teeth, organs, etc. This early growth is something hell need for a lifetime, so you want them to be the best they can be. As with anything else, it usually requires greater resources to build something than to maintain it. So if youre feeding your puppy an adult maintenance dog food, he may not be getting all of the essential nutrients he needs in these crucial, early months.