Monday, August 8, 2022

When Should You Switch Your Dog From Puppy Food

When To Switch Puppy To Adult Food

How to Switch Dog Food Gradually (To Avoid Stomach Upset)

Once you know when your puppy will reach maturity, you can decide when to switch to adult food.

If your puppy will be full grown at 12 months, you can start transitioning him to an adult formula around his first birthday. It can take 7 to 10 days to make the switch, so youll want to plan for that before you start.

When To Switch From Puppy To Adult Food

Knowing when to switch from puppy food to adult food can sometimes be a tough decision.

There is so much conflicting information out there and it makes it very confusing for the new puppy owner. That’s why we decided to write this article in the hopes of helping.

For golden retrievers in specific, its best to switch from puppy food to adult food anywhere from 12-18 months.

You switch over to adult food when the dog is nearing their adult height. Different dogs mature at different rates due to the large number of breeds. The larger the dog the longer it takes for them to mature to full size.

Larger breeds of puppies take a bit longer to reach maturity. Medium breads such as the golden retriever, mature between 12-18 months of age. The ages can be used as a good guideline.

More energetic dogs that are more active may need to rely on the puppy food until they are closer to their adult size, while less active dogs can switch to the adult food sooner.

Some signs your dog is ready to transition. Your dog may not have any of these signs and still be ready to transition to adult food.

  • If they are sleeping a bit more
  • If they are eating less puppy food or leaving food in their bowl.
  • Less energetic than their puppy selves.
  • Consistently soft stool.

The Timeline Of Puppy Growth And Dietary Needs

As puppies age and grow into fully grown adults, they switch up their food routines. This is usually done in very specific stages of life, and for great reasons that will be covered later on.

This schedule varies by breed, which is an important distinction because differently sized breeds grow at different rates!

First, though, you may be wondering why to even bother sticking to a set routine at all. Why not just feed them adult food when you think your pups teeth are strong enough? Lets talk about that.

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What Is The Optimal Way To Feed Your German Shepherd Puppy

According to Barbara Lopez, all feeding changes should be made gradually to ensure the best possible results.

The food recommended by the breeder or rescue organization should be used for the first few weeks to avoid digestive disruption, and kibble should be mixed with a little water. Clean water should be available to your puppy all day but taken up at night.

Puppies between eight and 12 weeks old do best with being fed three or four times daily. After 12 weeks, feeding your puppy twice a day is fine. Any changes to the amount of food a puppy eats should be done gradually.

Puppies will experience their most significant growth rates between three and six months old. Its essential to monitor your puppys weight during this time because, even at this age, getting overweight can lead to joint problems later in life.

How To Make The Diet Change

Why Should You Switch to Non

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 dog’s 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 dog’s 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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Follow The Feeding Directions On The Bag

Theres no universal portion that will meet the needs of every pup. Whether youve opted for a puppy formula or an all-stages formula, follow the feeding directions provided by the brand to guide you. High-quality brands, like NutriSource, are dense in calories and nutrients, which means youll need to put around 30 to 40% less food in the bowl than you would, say, a supermarket brand. Using your puppys age and weight as a guide, you can adjust the portion as they grow.

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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Special Considerations And Additional Tips

Pregnancy: Pregnant or nursing dogs need energy-dense foods with increased calcium content so be sure to transition them during this special time to puppy food.

During pregnancy or nursing, large breed dogs should be switched to regular puppy food, not a large breed puppy food.

Health Reasons: If your veterinarian has recommended therapeutic dog food for a specific health condition, please be sure to discuss transitioning to the new dog food in detail. There could be some special considerations and suggestions as far as the transition schedule to ensure success.

Transitioning Between Dry and Wet: Whether your dog is getting older and needs a softer food or youre just looking to provide a different texture and taste, transitioning between dry and wet dog food should follow a similar transition schedule of mixing in the old with the new.

If you decide you just want to use canned dog food as a topper to their normal dry food, be sure to check with your vet on the proper amounts, so as to not go over his daily caloric intake requirements.

For whatever reason you need to update your dogs food, switching food while mixing in some of the old food is the best way to ensure your switch is a successful one. Remember that whenever youre making a decision about your pets health, you should consult your veterinarian and adhere to the recommended feeding guides on your pet foods packaging.

Is It Ok To Feed My Puppy An All

Should You Switch Your Dog To A Raw Diet Cold Turkey?

An all-life-stages formula can provide a convenient but still nutritionally sound option. All-life stages appeal to pet parents with more than one dog in the house, or for those who want to take the guesswork out of transitioning to an adult formula.

What is an all-life-stages diet? The Association of American Feed Control Officials sets nutritional guidelines for pet foods. There are three main diets under AAFCO:

  • Puppy
  • Adult
  • All-stages

An all-life-stages diet is a diet that is formulated to meet the needs of puppies as well as adult dogs. For NutriSource, formulas labeled as adult food are also considered all-life-stages formulas.

If your puppy is a larger breed, its critical to read the label before offering an all-stages diet, explains Tufts University. What youll want to look for is AAFCOs qualifier for nutritional adequacy statement. It will tell you whether that all-stages formula meets the standards of larger breed puppies. In particular, the formula should have a roughly 1:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorous to support healthy bone growth.

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How Long Will It Last

Generally speaking, the diarrhea from switching foods should not last longer than 3 or 4 days at the very most. In some cases it may take up a full week for some dogs to adjust to the new food, but that is really pushing it. For the most part, dogs will adjust to their new food in 2 or 3 days.

If you are switching foods because your dog was always sick on the old food, and it still does not change with new food, you should take your dog to the vet to get examined.

In any case, if the diarrhea lasts for more than a week in any case, go see a vet, as your dog may have a food sensitivity, the new dog food may not be ideal, or your dog may have some other illness which is causing the upset stomach.

Sign Up To Receive Puppy Tips

Puppyhood is so much fun! But eventually, pups grow up.

The fun doesnt end with puppyhood, though. If anything, your friendship will grow even deeper with each year of having your dog by your side.

During this transition into adulthood, you may be wondering when does my puppy need to eat adult dog food?

Read on for more information on making this important change

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Time Flies When Youre With Your Furry Friend

It would be adorable if our canine companions could be puppies forever. However, switching from puppy food to adult food is an important step as your puppy grows. Your puppy will become a full-fledged adult before you know it, so get all the puppy kisses and love while you can! Regardless of their age, its crucial to feed your children well it can make all the difference in the world in their health as they grow and mature.

Want to learn more mealtime tips and other ways you can help support your four-legged friend? Join our Best Friends Club to receive our exclusive email newsletter full of interesting articles and members-only discounts on Bil-Jac dog food, treats, products, and other training tips.

What Types Of Foods Should A German Shepherd Puppy Never Get

When Should I Change My Dogs Food?

Medium-length beef marrow bones can be a tasty treat in addition to their food, especially if stuffed with pumpkin without any spices or peanut butter. However, avoid pork or poultry bones, because these can splinter very easily.

Gravy should never be given as a treat because of its potential to cause diarrhea. Another concern is that gravy might contain spices possibly toxic to dogs. Avoid feeding table scraps for the same reason.

There are concerns about some kibble-based dog foods that owners should be aware of, according to Anna Burke.

These foods include grain-free varieties high in potato and legume content like lentils or peas. Such ingredients increase the risk of canine dilated cardiomyopathy. Large dogs like Shepherds may be somewhat more prone to this condition.

Raw food diets can be poor choices for German Shepherd puppies because it is harder to regulate your dogs growth on this diet than you can with regular puppy food. If you want to consider this diet, wait until your dog has achieved adult size.

Avoid homemade diets, as these are mostly deficient in crucial nutrients that growing puppies require.

If you do feed one of these types of diets, consider adding a diet base to the dogs food to ensure they receive the proper nutrition.

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When Should A Puppy Start Eating Solid Food

Puppies should get solid food starting at about four weeks, when theyre not able to get all the calories they need from their mothers milk. Most puppies are weaned by six weeks.

Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, is assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. He tells WebMD that for puppies younger than eight weeks, you may need to moisten dry food until it feels spongy.

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.

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Look For A Senior Dog Food That Is Similar To Their Current Food

If your brand does not offer a senior version, look for senior dog foods with similar ingredient and nutrient profiles. For example, if your dog has always eaten a chicken and rice kibble, look for a senior dry food with similar ingredients.

If your vet has suggested a different formulation, brand, or variety, take a closer look at the ingredients and make your selection based on your dogs unique needs.

When To Switch To Adult Dog Food

How to â Change your petâs food

Dogs under 12 months of age are typically referred to as puppies while dogs over 12 months are considered adults. As a general rule, puppies can be safely switched to adult dog food when they reach 80% of their expected adult size.

However, just because your puppy is technically of adult age, doesnt necessarily mean hes ready for adult dog food. There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to determining when to switch to adult dog food, primarily your puppys breed size. For small breed dogs thats typically somewhere between 9-10 months, while for medium breeds and larger dogs, it might be closer to 12-18 months.

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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.

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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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 Do I Know If My Puppy Is Eating The Right Amount

Should you buy wet or dry dog food?

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.

Continued

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When Does A Dog Need To Switch To Senior Dog Food

Dog life-stage classifications can help you know when your dog is considered a senior. Depending on their breed and size, most dogs are considered to be mature adults between 6 and 8 years old. In most cases, a dog older than 8 years will move into the senior category.

While these age classifications can be helpful in guiding food choices, its important to remember that animals are individuals. Just because they reach a certain age does not mean they are necessarily old on a physiologic scale.

The aging process differs for each dog, and just like with people, it may look, feel, and affect them all differently. If your senior dog is healthy and maintaining a good weight, a new dog food may not be needed.

Your veterinarian is your best ally in determining when your dog is ready to transition to a senior diet.

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