Transition Time: When To Switch Puppies To Adult Dog Food
Puppy food is specifically formulated to support the rapid growth and high energy needs of a puppy in his first year. However, your little furry friend isnt going to be a puppy forever.
At some point, every puppy needs to make the switch from puppy food to adult dog food. Adult food is designed to help maintain your dogs good health through his prime, but it can be tricky to figure out exactly when your precious puppy is ready for some big boy food. To help, weve put together some tips on when and how to switch your dog to adult food.
My Dog Wont Eat Or Drink Water
If your dog wont eat or drink water, then you need to talk to your vet. Right away. It isnt normal for a dog to go more than a few hours without drinking or eating anything. If your dog is drinking a lot more water than usual and refusing to eat this can also be a sign of an infection or a serious disease.
Just like people, dogs get tummy bugs. When the are vomiting and/or have diarrhea their natural instinct will tell them to stop eating. These minor bugs are not usually serious and most dogs will carry on behaving normally throughout. And they will drink enough water to replace lost fluids.
Veterinary advice is to not feed your dog for about 12 hours after a tummy upset. Then start by feeding small amounts of bland food every few hours on the first day. This allows the digestive tract to recover. Increase the amount of food gradually and if it seems that the problem is solved you can start reintroducing normal food.
A lack of appetite accompanied by absence of bowel movements, or by straining, may indicate a bowel obstruction. So its off to the vet without delay! Obviously, you dont want to run to a vet with every little minor tummy upset, but your vet would always rather see a healthy dog unnecessarily, than a sick dog too late. Illness aside, the vast majority of dogs that go off their food are not in the throes of a medical emergency.
Many dogs that gradually stop eating do it because they want you to feed them different food. Lets have a look at this.
Fresh Water Is So Important
Like humans, itâs important that puppies stay hydrated. Your puppyâs water intake will almost entirely come from drinking. Make sure you have a clean water bowl full of fresh water for them.
Some hydration can come from their food if they are having wet food, but they will need a dedicated water bowl for drinking throughout the day.
Daytime hydration tips:
There are some simple checks you can make to see if your puppy is over or underweight:
Look at your puppy from the side â check if their tummy is tucked up from their chest.
Look at your puppy from above â check if their waist tucked in without too much hip bone protruding.
Feel their sides for the ribs â if you canât feel their rib cages, your puppy may be overweight.
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How To Switch Your Dog’s Food Safely
Switching dog food cold turkey may not seem difficult for some dogs, but a thoughtful and gradual food transition can help your dog avoid any side effects of switching, like diarrhea or stomach upset.
To help you with the switch and dog food transition, refer to the 7-Day Transition Schedule below:
Days 1 and 2
What Nutrients Does Your Dog Need For Their Skin And Coat Health
Your dogs skin and hair arent just nice to pet they play an important role in keeping your pup healthy and comfortable. They prevent water and heat from leaving your pups body, plus they help keep viruses and bacteria out. One of the best ways to make sure your dogs skin and coat are in the best possible condition is by paying close attention to what you put in their food bowl.
Nutrients like protein, fat, vitamins and minerals can all impact your dogs skin and coat health. Your dogs coat is made up almost entirely of protein. If their diet doesnt contain enough quality protein, your dogs hair might fall out or become dry, weak and brittle.
Likewise, their skin is made up of tightly packed flat cells with tough membranes made of proteins and fats. Without proper amounts of these nutrients, the cell membranes can weaken, allowing water to escape and bacteria and viruses to enter more easily.
Make sure your dog is getting the following nutrients to help keep their coat and skin healthy. And keep in mind that IAMS dog foods contain an optimal blend of these nutrients to support your dogs skin and coat health.
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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.
How To Change Your Dogs Food
Switching your dogs food abruptly can cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, and a decreased appetite. Any time you decide to change your dogs food, you should transition to the new diet gradually in order to give your dogs system time to adjust to the change. Ideally, these transitions should happen over 5-7 days. During this transition, you will gradually incorporate more and more of the new food by mixing it with your dogs current diet. For most dogs, a good diet transition will look like this:
- Day 1: 25% new diet and 75% old diet.
- Day 3: 50% new diet and 50% old diet.
- Day 5: 75% new diet and 25% old diet.
- Day 7: 100% new diet.
Some dogs with sensitive stomachs, food allergies, or other gastrointestinal diseases may need an even longer transition period. The key to a good diet transition is monitoring your dogs individual response. If, at any point during the diet transition, your dog displays concerning signs such as changes in appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should proceed more slowly. And if you have transitioned gradually and your dog is still experiencing stomach upset, it is best to consult with your veterinarian. In some cases, it may be necessary to choose a different diet.
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My Sick Or Recovering Dog Wont Eat Much
Dogs that have a chronic illness such as heart problems or cancer generally lose their appetite. So do dogs who are recovering from a serious illness or have pain from recent surgery or conditions like hip dysplasia. This is only partly because they are less active and need less food. Various metabolic changes also take place when the body is under stress.
In these circumstances it will be necessary stimulate your dogs appetite and feed them differently so that they get the nutrients they need. You want to help them to maintain the best possible condition and/or heal and recover.
Your vet will probably advise you on what to feed your sick, injured or recovering dog. He is likely to suggest that you tempt your dog with foods that he enjoys. Meals should be nourishing, easy to eat and to digest. You should offer smaller meals more frequently. Dogs find moist, warm food with a strong flavour more appetising. Canned dog foods, meat, fish, and eggs fit the bill.
The above also applies to elderly dogs who wont eat much.
When Is The Right Time To Switch To Adult Dog Food
Determining when to make the switch from puppy to adult dog food depends on your puppys size and breed, as well as his metabolism. Simply put, small and large breed puppies develop at different rates, meaning that some dogs will make the switch to adult food at different life stages. At Bil-Jac, we agree with our friends at VetInfo.com and recommend the following guidelines:
- Smaller breeds mature more quickly and can be switched at about 9 months to 1 year
- Medium breeds can be switched at around 1 year of age
- Large and giant breed dogs can transition anywhere from 1 year to 18 months
Of course, one to two years is quite a wide range of time. Every dog is different, so keep an eye on how much food your dog eats. Skipping meals or leaving some food behind is one notable sign that your furry friend is ready for a switch. If you notice that your best friend is regularly leaving some of her puppy food behind in the bowl, its probably time to make the jump to an adult formula.
Your dogs body condition can also help you figure out when its time to switch to adult food. Since puppy formulas are designed to support rapid growth, once a puppy is first weaned, splitting up meals info three feeding a day si recommended.
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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.
Listen To Your Veterinarians Recommendations For Special Conditions
If your dog has been diagnosed with a condition known to be influenced by nutrition, or they are at risk for certain diseases based on their health and lifestyle, your vet may suggest a therapeutic or prescription diet. These diets require a prescription from your veterinarian.
While these diets do not usually contain the word senior in their title, they are formulated to manage disease conditions commonly seen in senior dogs. They may have added ingredients or formulation-specific differences not available in over-the-counter varieties.
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Why Switch From Puppy Food To Adult Dog Food
Because of that faster metabolism of youthand the nutritional demands of growthpuppy food is formulated with more calories, fat, protein, and certain other nutrients than adult dog food.
All of this is very important during puppyhood. Its the right nutrient profile to help your puppy grow up strong and healthy.
However, for most adult dogs , puppy foods provide a far higher calorie density than they need.
So, unless you really cut back on their quantity of food , theres a good chance your dog will gain weight if they continue to eat their puppy food as an adult.
Considering the health risks that come with obesitysuch as arthritis and increased risk of orthopedic injuries, diabetes, cancers, and other health problemsits best to keep your young adult pup at a healthy weight, right from the start.
Best Puppy Diet: Get Help From The Breeder
Puppies grow 20 times faster than adult dogs and so they require a special diet to aid their physical development. A specially formulated growth food is recommended which needs to be fed at evenly spaced intervals to avoid overstretching a puppy’s small stomach.
A responsible breeder will give you advice about your puppy’s diet.
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Food For Big Puppies & Little Puppies
There are differences between the nutritional needs of small-breed and large-breed dogs, and that is especially true for puppies. Adult dogs who weigh less than 20 pounds are considered small-breed dogs. These puppies grow quickly and may reach adulthood by 9 months. Large-breed puppies , grow more slowlyit takes anywhere from 15 to 24 months to reach full size and maturity.
A Vets View On When To Stop Feeding Puppy Food To Your Dog
How to know when it’s the right time to start feeding your dog adult food
If you have a new puppy, you’ll probably have many questions about how to care for them. One of the most common questions about caring for puppies is when to stop feeding puppy food. As your puppy grows into adulthood, youll probably begin to notice many changes in their behavior, appearance, energy levels, and appetite. The best puppy foods provide essential nutrients to help your puppy grow, so its important not to make this transition too early. In general, its recommended that your dog reaches musculoskeletal maturity before transitioning to an adult diet. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of transitioning your dog onto an adult diet.
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Which Brand Should You Try
People often ask us which brand of dog food they should try, especially when their dog is refusing several brands. We simply cannot advise you on which brand of food you should feed your dog. That is a matter for you, and possibly your vet, to decide in consultation with your wallet.
But be very wary of switching brands on more than one occasion. You can end up in a cycle of constantly switching from one food to another whilst your dog gets more and more picky.
When A Dog Has Gone Off His Food
When a dog hasnt eaten at all for around three days vets will refer to it as anorexia. Partial anorexia is when a dog eats, but not enough to keep him healthy and fit. This is a medical term and doesnt mean that your dog has a mental problem. There are many reasons why a dog or puppy might go off their food.
If a dog eats nothing for a few days or loses his appetite over a period of time this can be a sign of a serious illness. A mild illness, like a tummy upset, could cause him not to eat for a day or two. Problems with his teeth or pain can also cause him to eat less just like you would.
But there are other reasons for a dog to stop eating. Lack of appetite can be caused by changes in the environment or emotional upsets. Not eating can also be a learned response. Thats right. Some dogs learn to get the food they prefer, by refusing to eat whats on offer.
Well look at all this and more. But first things first. Lets exclude serious emergencies.
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How Does Your Vet Play A Role In Your German Shepherds Nutrition
Melissa Smith notes that timing is everything when it comes to switching from puppy to adult food, and your vet will play a leading role.
One of the reasons why timing is so important is because the calorie content of puppy food is so high, which can make the young adult dog gain weight too quickly, in the wrong places, particularly the belly area, where fat can be dangerous.
A growth spurt after a year is possible in German Shepherds, particularly males, and your vet may have a good idea of when the growth will finish. However, what about Shepherds that are not purebred?
This question is very reasonable, as it is a little more difficult to guess when a mixed-breed is done growing. Weekly measurements can be an excellent way to track the dogs growth. Compare your measurements to popular GSD growth charts for reference.
Consider making sure your vet is on-board as you make the transition from puppy food to adult. Your vet will be able to spot any nutritional deficits that require addressing. Another advantage is being able to ensure the dog has proper bone growth.
Your dogs medical history will also be a factor in when the switch to adult food takes place. If your German Shepherd has needs that require a special diet, your vet will be able to provide valuable guidance about the appropriate timing.
If your dog is underweight, Amber King recommends a high-protein diet with a moderate amount of fat. Follow up with your vet to help uncover the cause of the low body weight.
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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