Why Transition From Puppy To Adult Food
Puppies require different nutrients and calories than adult dogs. Puppy-formulated foods typically have higher protein and fat to help them grow. They also often include DHA, which is also in mothers milk.
Once your puppy is fully grown, they dont need as many calories. If you continue to feed puppy food to an adult dog, it could result in the dog gaining excess weight.
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.
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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How To Feed Your Dogs Growing Needs
As your dog grows, their dietary needs change. Each blend of Just Right is uniquely crafted to support your dogs lifestage or lifestyle, so you never have to worry if you are missing an important dietary milestone.
Follow these tips for feeding your dog at each lifestage:
Puppy food should help support areas like healthy brain and vision development, proper bone and muscle growth, and a strong immune system. · Now that you know when to switch from puppy food to adult dog food, keep in mind that adult dog food should help support their unique nutritional needs and lifestyle.
Consider your dogs activity level, skin and coat health, body condition, and digestive health.
As your dog grows, their metabolism changes can lead to weight gain or loss of lean body mass, so calories and type of diet should be adjusted accordingly.
Dog food designed for the nutritional needs of your dog from puppy to senior should help support areas like bone and joint health, strong muscles, and changing activity level.
Ready to switch dog food? Create your dog’s personalized blend of dog food that grows and changes as your dog does. Start your dogs unique blend today.
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.
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Influencing Factors On Determining Feed Amount
Be honest with this assessment. Is your dog mostly a lounger that hangs out inside all day with a few backyard jaunts or is it a truly active dog like a sporting breed that hunts, a working dog like a police K9 or your pal that goes hiking with you multiple times a week for hours on end?
Human tendency is to over emphasize/assess activity levels.
Adjustments for weight gain or weight loss
Simply put, does your dog need to lose weight? Gain weight? Maintain? The answer to those questions will help you figure out which end of that 2-3% spectrum you want to start with when starting a raw food diet.
Notice I said adult dogs when referring to the 2-3% of body weight for food amounts. Puppies are an entirely different story as theyre quickly growing and need more calories to support that growth.
There are two approaches for feeding puppies:
- 2-3% of their expected adult weight
- 5-6% of their current puppy weight adjusting with the dog as it grows
Senior dogs shouldnt have drastically different needs than a middle-aged dog unless of course, activity level impacts them.
Pregnant dogs are something you should speak to your vet about in determining the best amount of raw food to support a healthy pregnancy.
Making her homemade raw dog food has just become a part of the weekly routine now.
Its a 30 minute weekly commitment that has made both her and I incredibly happy.
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.
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Tips For Transitioning: How To Switch Dog Food Safely
There comes a time in every dogs life when they need a change in food. Maybe you are switching dog food because your dog has grown from puppy to adult, or adult to senior. Or perhaps your dog has a new need, or their tastes have simply changed. Whatever the reason for changing dog food, its important to know how to switch to a new dog food gradually.
Should I Feed Wet Or Dry Food
Wet food is a great way to help your puppy transition from milk to standard dog foods, and dry food is easier to store. Whether you decide to serve wet or dry food or a combination of both will depend on your puppys preferences.
You may want to start with wet food and transition to dry food by feeding moistened dry food in the same transition method we suggested above. As long as your puppy is eating regularly, youre fine.
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Stage : Birth To 3 Weeks
The first stage in your Goldendoodle puppys development will be the first three weeks of their life.
These puppies are born blind, deaf, and without teeth. These first weeks are a very critical time in their development. During this time, the puppies needed are very easy to take care of food and sleep, and most of this care is provided by their mother.
Most of a puppys growth takes place when they sleep, so this is very important that you allow your Goldendoodle puppies to sleep.
Your puppy will start to open their eyes at about 2 weeks of age. By the time that they are 3 weeks, their ears will be open, and you will start to notice that their teeth are pushing through their gums.
At the end of this first stage, your Goldendoodle puppy will be aware of their surroundings. They will start to bark, crawl, and interact with the other puppies in their litter.
At the end of this first puppy stage, they are aware of everything that is around them and are trying to crawl, bark, and interact with their littermates.
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.
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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.
What Types Of Foods Should A German Shepherd Puppy Never Get
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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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.
How To Transition Dog Food
Your dog may enthusiastically dive into their new dog food, but their system will likely need some time to adjust to a new diet. When switching dog food, our nutritionist Sara recommends making a slow, measured, and gradual change between over a 7-10 day period to help your dog avoid digestive upset. Thats something that both you and your dog will appreciate!
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Moving From Puppy Food To Adult Dog Food
So, we are now back at the original question when is the right time to switch your puppy from puppy food to adult food? Well, that all depends on when your puppy has reached their adult weight. This will vary from breed to breed. As a general rule, small breeds reach full growth much quicker than large breeds. Every dog will differ, and so it is important to monitor your own puppys growth in consultation with your vet, but as a general rule:
- Small breed dogs are fully grown at 9-12 months.
- Medium breeds get there at around 12-15 months.
- Large breeds about 15-18 months.
- Giant breeds 21-24 months.
It is a good idea to monitor your own puppys growth about every 2 months or so. You can do this using a growth chart, such as those provided by the waltham institute , and discuss with your vet if theres anything unexpected . It is also a good idea to check with your vet when you suspect your puppy is fully grown and you are thinking of making the transition to adult food, just to make sure that they agree!
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Stage : 3 Weeks To 7 Weeks
This stage is very vital to your Goldendoodle puppys social development and their physical development.
During this time, they will continue to grow in size rapidly. Most importantly, they start to get more socially active with their mom, littermates, and the people in their lives.
Your puppy will start to learn many new things during this stage of puppy development. Their mother will begin to teach them a few basic manners and start the weaning process.
They will learn how to play with other puppies and what other puppies will tolerate. This is when they will learn how strong of a bite that they have and what is okay for playing.
They will usually establish a pecking order within the litter of puppies. This is the main reason why most breeders do not recommend taking the puppies from their litter and mother until they are about 7 to 8 weeks old.
By 6 to 7 weeks of age, your Goldendoodle puppy will be able to be left alone for a short period of time. They will also be doing to normal puppy behaviors such as eating puppy food , walking, running, and wagging their tail.
This is also the time that your Goldendoodle puppy will need their first set of vaccines and dewormed. Most breeders will take their puppies to the vet for these vaccines. This way, they know that their puppies have received the vaccines that they need to get started off on the right track.
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The Proof Is In The Poop
The best way to monitor your dogs digestive health is to pay attention to the quality of the stool. While minor variations in stool color and consistency are normal, any major changes can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. A great way to evaluate your dogs stool is to use a Fecal Scoring Chart. An ideal fecal score is 34. Lower numbers may indicate dehydration or constipation, while higher numbers are indicative of gastrointestinal upset, which can be due to a variety of factors. If your dogs stool is consistently outside of the normal range, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian regarding your dogs digestive health.