When Should I Stop Feeding My Dog Puppy Food A Vet Answers
ByElizabeth Racine, DVMpublished 6 May 22
If you’re wondering, “When Should I Stop Feeding My Dog Puppy Food?” here’s some advice from a vet
When should I stop feeding my dog puppy food? It’s a question you may well be asking as your puppy approaches adulthood, and changes in his behavior, appearance, appetite, and energy level begin to become apparent. You dont want to make this transition too late, but its equally important not to switch to adult food too early. After all, the best puppy food provides nutrients that are essential for your puppys growth and development.
In general, you should wait until your dog reaches musculoskeletal maturity before transitioning to an adult diet. This means waiting until your dog has finished growing and the growth plates in his bones have closed. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of transitioning your dog to an adult diet.
How Much Should I Feed My Puppy A Complete Puppy Feeding Guide With Chart
The decisions you make about your puppys nutrition will affect his growth, development and even his behavior.
How much should you feed your puppy and when? When should you stop feeding puppy food?
Get answers to these questions and more in our complete puppy feeding guide below. Our experts answer your questions and offer advice to help set you and your puppy up for success.
Senior Dogs Picky Dogs
One tip I can share is you can use riced frozen vegetables. I have used packages of riced cauliflower, sweet potato, and broccoli. All work great, save time and are convenient, but they are a little more expensive. These will work great for dogs that can’t chew well, are picky, don’t each much food, or won’t eat larger pieces of dog food.
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How To Transition To A New Food
If you try and change your dog’s diet in a single day, they will probably suffer from some digestive issues. Its best to transition from puppy to adult food over at least ten days. Try to plan this in advance, so you dont end up wasting an open sack of puppy food.
Heres a suggested schedule for transitioning from puppy to adult dog food:
Day 1 – 2
100% new diet!
When Should A Puppy Start Eating Solid Food
Puppies should get solid food starting at about four weeks, when theyâre not able to get all the calories they need from their motherâs 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 says that for puppies younger than 8 weeks, you may need to moisten dry food until it feels spongy.
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What Will Be The Overall Impact On Your German Shepherd
When you have a growing German Shepherd, the right nutrition makes all the difference in their growth and development.
Even though it may feel as though the amount of information on nutrition is overwhelming, it is essential.
Making the right choices early on will mean greater health and happiness for your dog. A dog that grows at a reasonable, healthy rate will do much better in life.
Youll also have the assurance of knowing that your dog is healthier.
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How To Transition From Puppy Formula To Adult Formula Or All
When that one-time ball of fluff is done growing, its time to transition to an adult formula. Sudden changes in food can be upsetting to a dogs gastrointestinal system. For that reason, many brands recommend a phased approach, starting with a small ratio of adult food to puppy food, and gradually increasing that adult ratio.
However, if youre feeding your puppy NutriSource brands from the start, the phased approach isnt necessary. in particular NutriSource chicken and rice recipes transition exceptionally well from puppy to adult formulations.
If youre feeding your dog a brand that does require a phased approach, heres a basic formula to follow:
- Day 1: 80% puppy formula to 20% adult formula
- Day 3: 50-50 mix of puppy and adult formula
- Day 5: 20% puppy formula to 80% adult formula
- Day 7: 100% adult formula
Preparation Of Our Homemade Diet
All of the information above might seem intimidating, but I assure you that making the actual meals for our dogs takes no more than 20 minutes of actual hands-on time.
First, we cook our complex carbs, whether theyre grains, legumes, or starchy vegetables.
While that pot is simmering on the stove, we cook the meat in a separate pan in coconut oil and ground turmeric. After its cooled a bit, we add chunks of meat to our food processor and pulse until theyre broken down into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces.
Then, we gather whatever vegetables or fruits we have in the kitchen , chop them up as needed, and toss them into the food processor.
We also add a few clean, crushed eggshells to the mix. A few pulses turns all this food into smaller pieces, making them more digestible for our dogs.
Finally, we add the cooled, cooked carbs to the food processor and do a couple more pulses to combine. Everything should have a finely crumbled texture by this point.
Since dogs have short digestive tracts, its crucial that you break down the food to increase its bioavailability that is, making all the nutrients in those wholesome ingredients more digestible in a dogs system.
I prepare enough food to last my two pugs an entire week. Its unbelievably easy, and I like knowing exactly what goes into their food. Friends will watch us feed our pugs and remark that it looks good enough for them to eat!
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When To Change From Puppy To Adult Food
The aim of using puppy food is to provide them with enough nutrition a growing dog needs. Thus, the puppy needs to consume puppy food until he or she no longer grows up. However, its recommended to feed them only in the first year. This is considered the general rule of thumb, especially for the little breeds.
In reality, youll see that some other dogs cant grow more in height but only in chests after the first year, such as Pitbulls or Labradors. Its when your puppy almost reaches the adult size, and this is when to stop feeding puppy food!
Before starting the gradual switch to an adult-formula food, come to ask yourself a few following questions:
- Is your puppy one year old? Has it stopped growing yet? The best time to transition your puppy food to an adult formula is when he or she no longer grows up.
- What is the breed size of your puppy when it gets mature? Small, medium, or large? The essential element to determine when to feed adult dog food will be the puppys size at its maturity. Note that small breeds often stop growing earlier than big breeds. Both small and medium breeds are known to arrive their fullest adult size at the age of one. So, when your puppy is a big breed, he wont stop growing until reaching 18 – 24 months.
- Have you discussed this issue with your veterinarian? Each dog is different, so consulting a veterinarian will be a must do.
How To Soak Dry Food For Puppies
As puppies from the age of 3-4 weeks will be transitioning to soaked dry puppy foods, they are still very tiny at this point so make sure the food is accessible, without them having to climb over high rimmed bowls. Many puppy owners use a flat surface or plate to place the dry food on, pour warm water over it and soak for 10-15 minutes. Give it a quick mix, check the temperature is okay then place on the floor for the puppy to access.
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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.
When Should I Stop Giving My Puppy Soft Food
Growth foods necessary at the puppy stage have higher protein levels and calorie counts to meet your pups developmental needs. But once your pup is six to 12 months old those needs change. Thats usually when your puppy is nearing his adult height and can transition to adult food.
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% Of Large Breed Dog Owners Unsure Of When To Stop Feeding Puppy Food Purina Reports
ST. LOUIS Nestlé Purina PetCare highlighted discrepancies and misunderstandings among pet owners when it comes to purchasing and feeding puppy formulas in a survey released Aug. 24, showing many pet owners are unaware that dog maturity varies by breed size.
According to Purina, toy and small dog breeds that weigh less than 30 lbs take between nine and 12 months to fully mature, while medium-sized dogs weighing between 30 and 80 lbs can take up to 16 months to fully mature, and large and giant breeds weighing more than 80 lbs can take up to two years to reach full maturity.
“Puppies have specific nutritional requirements to help support their rapid growth and development, said Callie Harris, DVM, veterinarian at Purina. Similar to babies, puppies’ bodies are fast-growing, but unlike babies, puppies pack all their growth into one to two short years. It’s important to feed a high-quality puppy food formula for at least the first 12 months and up to 24 months for large breeds.
The survey, which included 1,000 puppy owners in the United States, revealed 92% of large breed dog owners were unaware that they should feed puppy food for up to two years, while 47% of small breed dog owners did not realize their dog should be fed puppy food for up to one year.
Pet owners are more likely to determine an appropriate diet based off their dogs size , but do not account for breed differences and their effects on size and development.
The Results From Feeding Our Diy Dog Food
Back to the story of Bug
After only a couple of weeks of feeding her a homemade diet, the hubby and I were blown away by how much her mental and physical health improved. And we wholeheartedly believe she was able to bounce back because of her new food.
She went from an ailing, exhausted, incontinent, tail-down dog to a happy, energetic, curious, communicative pup. While she isnt miraculously walking again, her hip dysplasia also hasnt progressed or caused her any pain.
Weve learned to watch for signs that she needs to relieve herself as weve realized she knows when she has to go, she just cant get there without our help.
We feed both of our pugs the same food, with the hope that we can stave off any potential health problems for our older one.
When we travel, well bring their homemade food on the road in a cooler. On occasion, weve even ordered their dinner from a restaurant when we ran out of food .
If were camping, well usually just feed them whatever were cooking in camp they love corn on the cob, hobo packs , and the whole assortment of tri-tip, sausages, and ribs that weve usually got going on.
As you might imagine they lovecamping trips!
Homemade dog food gives us the flexibility to fine-tune their diet as needed. Im forever grateful for the extra time we were given with our beloved Bug as a result of the food we chose to feed her.
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What Should I Be Feeding My Puppy
Most puppy owners dont take their bundles of joy home with them until 8-weeks of age at the earliest. Puppies should not be removed from their mother and the rest of their litter until around 7 weeks, so if youre buying a puppy that is being rehomed before this time, alarm bells should be ringing! If you are a breeder, however, it is important to know the stages a puppy goes through in those very early weeks, to ensure they get the right nutrients from the off.
From Six To 12 Months
When they reach six months of age, puppies enter an adolescent stage and their nutritional needs change. So, if you were wondering when you should switch your puppy to two meals a day, now is the right time!
However, most will continue eating puppy food. Still, you should talk to your vet and see what the best food would be for your pup based on their individual nutritional needs.
Bear in mind, most veterinarians recommend spaying and neutering puppies at this age , since this is the time most males become sexually mature.
If you decided to spay or neuter your pup, know that the procedure affects your dogâs nutritional needs.
Desexed puppies and dogs have lower energy requirements than their intact counterparts and need a different type of food. Consult your vet about switching your pooch from puppy food to adult maintenance formula.
Feeding a nutrient- and calorie-dense puppy food to a desexed dog can lead to obesity, so donât wait long to transition your pooch to a new food.
You should also know that most smaller breeds can make a switch from three to two meals a day when they are around seven or nine months old.
Small dogs need less time to grow up and reach adulthood than larger breeds and consequently have different nutritional needs. If you have a toy or small breed dog, feed them with small breed puppy food.
Small breed dog foods generally have more calories and are specially formulated to meet the higher energy needs of a small dog.
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How Many Times A Day Should I Feed A Two
A two-month-old puppy should be fed four small meals a day spread evenly throughout the day and always at the same times.
An eight-week-old puppy will still only eat canned puppy food, which means that you will need to feed larger amounts to account for your pupâs daily nutritional needs.
At this time, you may also want to try adding a few bits of dry kibble into your pupâs wet food to start getting them used to the feel and texture of kibble.
Since your pup should transition fully to dry puppy food by age of 10 weeks, now is the perfect time to start introducing them to it.
Even when you start feeding kibble, your puppy will still need to have four equally spaced meals a day until they reach three months.
Finely Chopped Dog Food
If your dog is picky or will only eat finely chopped dog food , you can either run the vegetables through a food processor or finely chop them on a cutting board. Hand held boxed graters work but take a lot of time. I use the shredder blade on my processor and buzz everything through. Also, try frozen riced vegetables, they are a great option and work great!
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Why Feed Your Dog A Premium Food
You know that quality counts, so you feed your puppy that provides balanced nutrition. What food should you choose when they grow into an adult?
Feeding them a high-quality adult food like will help them maintain the same superb nutrition they received as a puppy. In contrast, switching to a lower-quality brand at this stage of your dogs life may upset their digestive system and wont provide them with the same level of nutritional excellence they were raised on. Check out our to find the right food for your all-grown-up pup!
Premium adult dog foods like the ones we make at IAMS are specifically designed to provide your dog with:
- High-quality ingredients that support whole-body health
- Balanced levels of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals
- Omega-6 fatty acids that help nourish and support your dogs skin and coat
What does it all add up to? A happy, healthy dog.
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My Puppy Is Begging Should I Feed Him People Food Or Table Scraps
One little French fry will invariably lead to another, and another. Before long, an obese dog will be crowding you off the love seat. Also, a steady diet of table scraps can create a nutritional imbalance, and certain ingredients and spices in your favorite dishes can cause upset stomach in dogs.
The pleading gaze of a begging dog can be irresistible. This is no accident. During his long partnership with man, the dog has perfected cunning methods of exploiting the human habit of associating food with affection. In prehistoric times semi-domesticated canines first cultivated human beings as a food provider. As the two species grew closer, dogs modified begging behaviors to maximize results: The more pathetic a dog seemed, the more scraps were tossed his way. Dogs have since refined this approach into a low-risk, high-reward hunting technique.
But dont be fooled: Begging is not an emotional crisis or a test of your love. Its what scientists might call an evolutionary survival strategy, or what the rest of us might call a scam. Allowing your dog to guilt you into overfeeding him, or serving him a steady diet of table scraps in a misguided show of affection, can have harmful or even fatal results.
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