How Much Should I Feed My Puppy
Puppies need to take in a lot of calories to fuel their rapid growth. At the start, that means about twice as many per pound as an adult dog of the same breed. Puppies grow the fastest in their first five months.
Look for feeding charts on commercial puppy food labels. You can use them as a guide. They provide recommended amounts based on a puppys age and weight. Adjust as necessary to keep your puppy in the best condition, something you may need to do weekly.
When Do You Switch To Grownup Dog Food
Heres how to effectively accomplish this:
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.
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When To Switch To Adult Dog Food
Some typical indicators of the right time to change from puppy food to dog food are dog size, breed and age. Depending on what size breed your dog is, the right age to transition to adult food will differ. Read on to find out more.
Small or medium breed puppies
Small and medium breed puppies are considered to be an adult at about one year of age. In this case, your dogs birthday indicates when to switch from puppy food. Toy breeds can be an exception to this, as some are considered to be adults at nine months of age. In general, small breed puppies are those who weigh less than 20 pounds at maturity. Medium breed puppies weigh between 21-50 pounds at maturity.
Large or giant breed puppies
Large or giant breed puppies take a little longer to reach maturity, and many of them are still growing until they turn two years old. In general, you should switch to adult food when your puppy is anywhere from 18 months to 24 months old. Large or giant breed puppies weight can vary greatly, so it doesnt offer a great insight into when to switch from puppy to dog food.
Should You Rotate Dog Foods
If you are feeding your dog a food that has been approved by AAFCO for your dogs life stage and it is a good quality food, it should be meeting your dogs nutritional requirements. There should not be any need to rotate your dogs food. You can also look at your dogs weight, his skin and coat, his energy level, his eyes, and other signs to see if he looks and acts healthy. If your dog is doing well on the food youre feeding, there shouldnt be any need to rotate his food. In other words, dont mess with whats working for your dog. You might make things worse.
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Problems When Switching Dog Food
No matter how gradually you switch your dog’s food over, sometimes they still get stomach upset. The most common problem when switching food is loose stool, and sometimes diarrhea.
Hardening your dog’s stool back up is pretty easy — there are two things you can do and one or the other may work better for your dog.
- Cook up some plain rice, , and even brown up some plain hamburger and mix the two together. Give this mixture with a little kibble mixed in with it for a day or two until your dogs stool starts to harden back up, then gradually over a couple of meals feed more kibble than rice and hamburger mixture.
- Another option for stool hardening is adding some canned pumpkin to your dogs food. It’s the same principal as the rice & hamburger mixture. Just add a generous amount to each meal and as your dog’s stool starts to harden, back the pumpkin off over a few meals.
Some thoughts to ponder. . . .
Hopefully your food transition goes smoothly, and hopefully you’re switching dog food because you want your best friend to be eating high quality food. High price does not necessarily mean high quality by the way.
One the most important things to remember is that not all foods work for all dogs — even quality foods. If your dog’s food is not agreeing with his stomach, then you should consider a switch.
A couple of ingredients that dog’s can be sensitive to are grains and protein content. For dogs with highly sensitive stomachs, lamb is usually the best protein source.
Puppyhood Is The Best Time To Consider Pet Insurance
As a puppy, your dog has probably not shown any significant health concerns at a young age. Since pet insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions, the younger your dog is when you signup, the better coverage you will likely receive throughout their lifetime.
Further, pet insurance can help support you financially during the unpredictable puppy years when dogs are more likely to chew on things they shouldnt and run into dangerous situations. Check out our pet insurance 101 guide to learn more and determine whether pet insurance is worth it for your puppy.
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Should You Rotate Dog Food To Give Your Dog More Variety
Most dogs are happy eating the same food regularly. If you wish to add some canned food or a little homemade stew to their food to make it tastier, thats fine, but dogs usually dont like a lot of change. Changes in your dogs food often lead to an upset gastrointestinal tract with diarrhea or vomiting. If you change foods often you can keep your dogs GI tract upset on an ongoing basis which will lead to other health problems. Of course, it is possible that if you change your dogs food continually he may get used to the changes and adapt to them, but only after a lot of upset stomachs. Some dogs will continue to have gastrointestinal problems when you change foods.
Doesnt Your Dog Need To Encounter Other Proteins To Build His Immune System
No. Thats not how the immune system works. When a puppy or dog eats proteins he wont have an allergic reaction to the protein the first time he eats it. His body wont react to it as an allergen at that time. If he is allergic to it, he has to encounter it again. At that time his body will have made antibodies to fight the allergen and release histamines and other chemicals which cause the allergic reaction. A dog can have this kind of reaction to lots of different things, including food ingredients. The wider the variety of ingredients you introduce to your dog, the more likely you are to encounter something he might be allergic to. Even if he is not allergic to some of the common allergens, he might be allergic to some of the less common food allergens. Any kind of protein can become an allergen. You cant prevent allergies or immunize your dog from getting an allergy by feeding him different kinds of food. You can keep your dog healthy and try to support his immune system. A stressed or weakened immune system is more likely to show a reaction if your dog is prone to allergies. Some dogs have immune systems that are overactive or which react inappropriately.
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The Right Way To Switch Foods
The best way to switch dog food is by doing so gradually, so it is something that takes a bit of planning.
Ideally, for the first 5 to 7 days, mix only 25% of the new food with 75% of the old food. In the second week, change the ratio to 50/50.
Then in the third week, change the ratio to 25% old food and 75% new food. Then, finally, after about three weeks, you can give your dog only the new food. Also, adding some digestive aids also helps.
Why Adult Dog Food Is Important
Puppy food is nutrient rich and high in calories to support your puppys growth, development and high energy levels.
Continuing to feed puppy food past the point of maturity could cause him to become overweight, which can lead to other health problems.
Choose a complete and balanced adult dog food formula once your puppy reaches maturity to help him maintain his ideal body condition.
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Weaning And The Journey To Solid Food
Weaning refers to the natural process where a puppy goes from solely surviving on their mothers milk to eating solid foods. Its a process that begins between the age of 3 4 weeks and takes several weeks to complete. Puppies are fully weaned when they reach 8 10 weeks old.
To transition from milk to solid:
In most scenarios, your dog would have already been weaned off milk by the time they come to live with you. If they arrive shortly after having been weaned, its best to start by feeding them food that is easy for them to chew and digest.
While you can feed your puppy moistened and mushed up dry food at this stage, wet food can be a better and more convenient choice.
What Happens If You Change Your Dogs Food Too Fast
If you are feeling impatient or need to switch your dogs food rapidly, you need to be prepared for possible consequences. Some dogs have an “iron stomach” and rarely experience issues when introducing new foods or ingredients, but even the most digestively sturdy dogs can experience problems when their food is changed too quickly.
The severity of reactions can depend on many things, like the quality of the foods you are changing between, your dog’s current gut health, and the type of diet you are switching to.
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How Do I Know If Im Feeding My Puppy Enough
Your puppy should be eating enough to grow and gain weight at a steady, healthy rate. Puppies that grow too quickly or become overweight are more prone to develop orthopedic problems, so it is important not to over-feed your puppy. Ideally, your puppy should maintain a healthy lean body weight. Your veterinarian evaluates this using a numerical scale called the Body Condition Score.
The Body Condition Score is determined by evaluating the fat deposits over the dogs ribs, hips, and spine and assigning a number on a scale from 1 to 5 or from 1 to 9, with 1 being extremely underweight and 5 or 9 being obese. An ideal Body Condition Score is a 3/5 or a 5/9, depending on the scale your veterinarian uses.
To determine whether you are feeding your puppy enough, ask your veterinarian to evaluate your puppys Body Condition Score, or learn how to evaluate the Body Condition Score at home. If the number is too low, you may need to increase the amount of food you are feeding your puppy. If the number is too high, your puppy is overweight and you will need to decrease the amount of food you are feeding to reach an ideal score.
How Long Will My Dog Have Diarrhea After Changing Food
Switching your dogs food is sometimes necessary, or sometimes it might just be time to change things up. That said, changing your dogs food will probably cause some degree of diarrhea, just so you are prepared. This is normal, and it should not last for too long. Lets take a closer look at this issue.
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How To Switch A Puppy To Adult Food
When it is time to switch to adult food, make sure you do it slowly. Youll want to transition over multiple days and watch for any upset stomach issues. To learn the correct way to adjust a dogs diet, read our full article on how to change your dogs food safely.
If you need ideas on which food is healthiest for your dog and most convenient for you, check out dog food delivery options, including fresh recipes from A Pup Above. Fresh pet food companies make it easy to customize your dogs diet based on age, weight, energy level, and diet, while at-home delivery ensures you always have the next meal on hand.
What Should I Be Feeding My Puppy Now That Theyre An Adult Dog
Find the food that best suits your dogs unique circumstances using our Food Finder tool. If your puppy is already on super premium puppy food we recommend keeping them on this quality of food as they become an adult, as a complete and balanced diet provides your dog with numerous health benefits. For puppies that have not been fed super premium food, transition them to this new diet using the guide below.
All super premium food contains guaranteed quality ingredients so you know exactly whats in your dogs food, and it is created using a scientifically formulated recipe that takes into account health issues, lifestyle and breed so you can find the perfect one to suit your best friend. Your dog will be tip-top shape inside and out with ingredients like DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid, that supports their brain, nervous system, and encourages a healthy skin and coat.
What these highly digestible ingredients mean for you is that your dog will produce smaller, firmer and less smelly stools for you to clean up, and their bolstered immune system will help your pet live a long and healthy life together with you.
Dont worry if your dogs a fussy eater, if they arent 100% satisfied with your purchase, our Super Premium Food Promise means you can receive a replacement product or full refund. And if youre a member of Petbarns Friends For Life loyalty program, youll get great rewards from every dollar spent!
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Rotating Dog Food Is It A Good Idea
Some people like to rotate their dogs food, either using the same brand and different formulas or several different brands. You may have wondered if this is a good idea or not. Afterall, there are a couple of dog food companies that recommend it. Here are some thoughts about this practice.
Chart Your Puppys Weight And Growth
- There are growth-and-weight charts available in print and online. Weigh the puppy weekly and record his progress, comparing him to breed-appropriate weight charts. Adjust his food intake to achieve an average rate of growth.
- Weighing a dog, even a squirming puppy, is easy. Just weigh yourself, then weigh yourself holding the puppy. Subtract the differencethats the puppys weight. Voila!
- Dont worry about an ounce or two either way no two dogs, even within breeds, are built exactly alike.
- A young dog carrying too much weight has an increased risk of orthopedic problems, due to stress on immature joints. Obesity can also lead to diabetes, diseases of the heart and other organs, and general lethargy.
How To Choose A Dog Food
Choosing an appropriate diet for your dog is a complicated process. The sheer number of dog food options available is overwhelming. Unfortunately, there is no one diet that is best for every dog. Just like humans, dogs are individuals and their dietary needs vary depending on factors such as age, health, and personal preferences.
To make the process even more complicated, there are also a lot of myths about dog food on the internet. Many people fall victim to advertising campaigns or scare tactics warning them away from commercial dog foods. Fortunately, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association has published a guide entitled The Savvy Dog Owners Guide: Nutrition on the Internet to help pet owners decipher fact from fiction when doing their own research about dog food.
Learning how to read a pet food label can also help demystify the process of choosing a dog food. The information on a pet food label is guided by the Association of American Feed Control Officials . AAFCO is responsible for establishing definitions for many of the terms you will find on a bag of dog food. Understanding these labeling requirements can make it easier to identify which products are best for your dog. Look for the words complete and balanced diet on the label.