Should Dogs Have Two Meals A Day
Most puppies can switch to two meals a day when they are between six and 12 months old and should continue eating that way for the rest of their lives.
But, while most dogs do well on a two-meal-a-day schedule, adding a third meal can also be a good option.
Dogs that have digestive issues may have less trouble digesting smaller meals and do better when eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Either way, you choose, make sure the meals are no more than 12 hours apart since your dogâs stomach can become too acidic leading to vomiting and nausea.
Small To Medium Breeds
For many small to medium-sized dogs, the rule of thumb is your dog will be cutting back on calories sometime in the 5- to 7-month range. At 12 months, you may notice your pups calorie needs have scaled back again. At that point, when theyve reached full size, that puppy is ready to make the switch from a puppy formula to an adult formula.
If youre feeding an all life stage food as opposed to an adult-specific food, you can safely switch a small to medium sized dog at any point.
Tips For Transitioning Your Puppy
When you are ready to switch your puppy over to an adult recipe, you need to be careful about how you make the transition. Dogs are notorious for reacting poorly to sudden changes in diet.
If one day you give your dog a bowl of puppy food made by Brand X and the next day you give him a bowl of adult dog food made by Brand Y, you shouldnt be surprised if your dog spends a lot of time in the backyard for the next few days you may even have some messes to clean up inside the house.
The best way to avoid this unpleasantness is to transition your dog slowly from one product to the next. Here is a simple formula to follow when you are ready to make the switch:
- Day 1 Mix 75% of your puppys current food with 25% of the new food.
- Day 2 Mix 50% of your puppys current food with 50% of the new food.
- Day 3 Mix 25% of your puppys current food with 75% of the new food.
- Day 4 Give your dog 100% from the new food.
If at any point during the transitional period your puppy develops digestive issues, your best bet is to go back one step and keep feeding your puppy that ratio until the digestive issues go away. Then, move to the next step and stay there for a few days before you move on.
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Puppy Growth Guide: Mental Changes
Mental changes signal the beginning of adulthood as well, and these new developments are just as vital to a dogs happiness and wellbeing. Here are some of the mental changes your pup will go through as he goes through his journey to adulthood:
- The destructive behaviors that come with puppyhood and adolescence should wear off. Now, your dog knows that he cant go barking mad on your new couch cushions because he is mature enough to realize what the consequences will be.
- Your pup will bounce off of the walls less. As dogs age, they become a little less energetic. This is especially true if yours has been neutered. These dogs tend to settle down faster than others.
- Your dog is now able to learn commands more quickly and do more complicated stunts and tricks than a puppy would.
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 you do not want to overfeed your puppy. Ideally, your puppy should maintain a healthy lean body weight.
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 your puppys Body Condition Score is too low, you may need to increase the amount of food you are feeding your puppy. If the Body Condition Score 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.
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When To Switch A Puppy To Adult Food
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Switching a puppy to adult food isnt a one-size-fits-all approach. It can vary based on your dogs breed, age, and weight. We can help you determine when is the best time for you to switch your dogs food and how to transition them successfully.
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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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 Transition From One Food To Another
- Not all dogs have problems changing foods, but for those picky eaters or those with sensitive tummies, you may have to transition slowly.
- When its time to transition to a new food, take a small amount of the new food and mix with a portion of the old food. Allow your dog to eat as usual.
- Add a little more of the new food to the portion and continue feeding your dog as usual.Continue to switch portions, reducing the old food, and increasing the new food until its all the new food.
- From now on, feed only the new food.
- Throughout the process, watch for signs of distress or tummy issues and ease the amount of new food to give your puppy time to adjust.
- If you continue to have issues with your puppys eating, address these issues with your veterinarian to find a solution.
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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.
Feeding Your Dog Through The First Year
Once your puppy is weaned, dietary changes will happen often. Stay flexible and keep an open line of communication with your veterinarian to ensure proper feeding habits.
- 6-12 weeks Puppies this young have just weaned successfully and are ready to receive nutrition solely from dog food. Puppies may need three to four feedings per day to help stabilize energy levels and should slowly transition from moistened food to regular food by 10 or so weeks for large breeds and 14 or so weeks for small breeds.
- 3-6 months Puppies are beginning to lose their puppy bellies during this period, and your veterinarian may recommend reducing feedings by one if appropriate. Its essential to watch your puppys weight to ensure growth doesnt happen too quickly.
- 6-12 months Your puppy is transitioning to fewer feedings and becoming closer to its adult weight and body. Once your puppy reaches around 75% of its expected adult weight, your veterinarian may suggest transitioning to adult food for good.
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At What Age Is A Dog Considered An Adult
A dog is considered to have reached adulthood once their musculoskeletal growth is complete and the skeletal growth plates have closed. This can occur between eight and 18 months of age, depending on your dogs breed and size. Small breed dogs tend to reach maturity sooner. Large and giant breed dogs take much longer to finish growing and may not reach adulthood until well over a year of age.
If youre still not sure, your veterinarian can help you determine whether your dog is likely to be fully grown or not. In some cases, he or she may even take x-rays to determine whether your dogs growth plates have fully closed, indicating musculoskeletal maturity.
How To Make The Diet Change
Any diet change should be done gradually to avoid gastrointestinal upset. This process can take a week or two depending on how you do it.
It may take some time and research to choose the right food for your now-adult dog. You may wish to stick with the same brand of food but switch to an adult formula. Of course, your vet can help you find an appropriate diet.
Once you have chosen the adult dog food, determine the portion size of adult food you will eventually need to feed based on your dogs current weight. Then, add a small percentage of adult food to the puppy food, increasing it a little at each meal. For simplicity, you may want to work out a schedule so you are not trying to remember how much of each to feed. Many veterinary professionals recommend the 3 by 3 approach when switching diets:
- Days 1-3: Feed 1/3 portion of adult food and 2/3 portion of puppy food
- Days 4-6: Feed 1/2 portion of adult food and 1/2 portion of puppy food
- Days 7-9: Feed 2/3 portion of adult food and 1/3 portion of puppy food
- Day 10 and on: Feed full portion of adult food
During the switch, watch your dogs appetite and bowel movements. Slow the transition if your dog experiences diarrhea or vomiting. If GI upset continues, you may need to choose a different adult diet and re-start the transition. Contact your vet if your dog has vomiting or diarrhea for more than a day.
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Why Is A Feeding Timeline So Important
Knowing when precisely to switch from puppy food to adult food is crucial because as your little fur baby turns into a fur man, he needs lots and lots more nutrients than adult dogs do. Puppy food is specially formulated to give those puppers the nutrients they so desperately need. Without them, he cant get big and strong.
If you want your dog to be #swole like Popeye, stick to the schedule that professionals recommend!
When Do I Switch My Puppy To Adult Dog Food
Depending on the breed, most dogs will not stop growing for the first year or two. You can continue feeding them a puppy formula until their growth plates have sealed, as long as they are not overweight. However, you must work closely with a veterinarian to assess your puppys body condition score. This will ensure that your puppy switches from puppy to adult dog food at the ideal time. Your veterinarian can also recommend how much adult dog food you should give your dog, as too many extra calories and nutrients may be harmful.
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Can You Cure Food Allergies In Pitbulls
You cannot cure food allergies in Pitbulls as its a hereditary condition passed down from the dogs parents. However, you can avoid triggering an allergic reaction by eliminating the food your dog is allergic to from its diet. You can also treat the symptoms caused by the allergic reaction through medication.
When Do Pitbull Puppies Become Adults
Pitbull puppies become adults when they reach full growth which is when theyre at about are about 12 to 24 months of age.
According to the United Kennel Club Breed Standards, the average adult male pitbull will weigh between 35 and 60 pounds and stand at 18 to 21 inches when measured from the floor to the shoulders.
On the other hand, the average adult female pitbull will be slightly smaller in size, weighing about 30 to 50 pounds and standing at 17 to 20 inches when measured from the floor to the shoulders.
Keep in mind that there are some factors that can affect any pitbulls growth rate and size such as the dogs bloodline and genetics as well as its diet.
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What Does Puppy Food Have That Adult Food Doesnt
The 3 important factors that we need to control in a puppys diet are protein levels, energy levels and calcium:phosphorous ratio.
Protein levels are important for muscle development. Energy levels are important for overall growth. Too few calories will lead to impaired growth, but too many will lead to a growth rate that is too fast, and could predispose to joint problems or obesity. Calcium:phosphorous ratio is vitally important for correct bone development and should be between 1:1 and 1.8:1. This ratio being either too low or too high could lead to bone weakness or conformational problems.
When To Switch From Puppy Food To Adult Dog Food
In general, dogs that are less than one year of age are considered puppies. It is important that during that year they are being fed puppy formula pet food. But if you have a puppy nearing one year of age, do you know when to switch to adult dog food? A veterinarian is always a good resource, but you can gauge the best time to switch too.
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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.
Labrador Puppys Size & Growth
Now that youve read the signs, you know exactly how your pups size and age will affect his nutritional requirements, and how he will start to loose his interest in the puppy food.
There are specific mineral balances needed for puppies of large breeds so that they develop their joints optimally and on schedule.
Your veterinarian should always consulted regarding your Labradors growth, and you should continue feeding him large-breed puppy food until he appears to be nearing the end of his growth plates.
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When Should You Switch From Puppy Food
There are a number of rules out there regarding when to make the switch from puppy food to adult dog food, and recommendations vary depending on your dogs breed size. Some say that you should switch your puppy to an adult recipe when his growth in height starts to slow down.
Even once your puppy reaches his adult height, he may continue to fill out a little in terms of muscle mass but he wont need quite so much energy. For small-breed puppies, this usually happens between 8 and 10 months of age and, for large-breed puppies, somewhere between 12 and 24 months.
Another rule you may have heard is the 80% rule that you should switch your puppy to an adult recipe when he reaches about 80% of his expected adult weight. Again, this will come sooner for small-breed puppies than for large- and giant-breed puppies. Your veterinarian can help you guess at your dogs expected adult weight.