How Do I Select A High
Start by asking your veterinarian what they recommend, says C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD. Buffington is a professor of veterinary clinical sciences at The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. In the first six months or so, the nutrient needs are changing very quickly. And, they leave the least margin for error. So asking your vet is a good idea since veterinarians typically recommend diets theyve had the most experience with.
What’s The Difference Between Puppy Food And Adult Food
It is highly recommended that your puppy eats a commercially formulated dog food specifically for puppies until they are fully grown. This is because growing puppies have different nutritional needs compared to adult dogs. Puppy diets tend to be higher in calories to support growth and have a slightly different balance of vitamins and minerals to provide optimal nutrition for growing bones and muscles. Most veterinary nutritionists do not recommend homemade, raw, or adult diets for puppies because they do not contain the right balance of nutrients to support rapid growth. Therefore, these diets may lead to developmental abnormalities or deficiencies.
While an adult dog is less likely to become unwell from eating puppy food, there are still some concerns with feeding your dog a diet that does not match their current life stage. The biggest problem with giving a puppy food or a generic “all life stages” diet to an adult dog is that these diets are often too high in calories. Adult dogs that are no longer growing do not require as many calories as puppies and can gain weight if they are fed puppy food. Spaying and neutering your dog, while very beneficial, also causes a decrease in your dog’s metabolism that can lead to weight gain. Specifically formulated diets for neutered dogs are available and contain fewer calories to keep your dog’s weight healthy.
Why When And How To Switch Your Puppy To Adult Dog Food
Right now, your puppy probably has a ton of energy and wants to play all the time!
And a lot of that energy will continue into adulthood. But, just like us human beings, its natural to have some slowing down of their metabolism as they exit their childhood and teen years and grow into an adult.
Thats the main reason your puppy will need a change of food
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Feeding Your Puppy: A First
- 612 weeks: Growing pups should be fed puppy food, a diet specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs for normal development. Feeding adult food will rob your puppy of important nutrients. Four feedings a day are usually adequate to meet nutritional demands. Large breeds should be fed unmoistened dry food by 9 or 10 weeks; small dogs by 12 or 13 weeks.
- 36 months: Sometime during this period, decrease feedings from four to three a day. A pup should be losing her potbelly and pudginess by 12 weeks. If she is still roly-poly at this age, continue to feed puppy-size portions until body type matures.
- 612 months: Begin feeding twice daily. Spaying or neutering lowers energy requirements slightly; after the procedure, switch from nutrient-rich puppy food to adult maintenance food. Small breeds can make the switch at 7 to 9 months; bigger breeds at 12, 13, even 14 months. Err on the side of caution: Better to be on puppy food a little too long than not long enough.
- After age 1: Most owners feed adult dogs two half-portions a day.
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.
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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.
My Dog Isnt Eating But Acting Normal
If your Lab is full of energy and charging around like a puppy there is probably no immediate need to rush your dog off to the hospital. Or even if he seems just a little bit reserved. You dog might just not be hungry. Or bored with his food. Maybe he moved around less and doesnt need his usual amount of food. Someone could have slipped him too many treats.
- Have you changed food brands? Some dogs are very suspicious of unknown tastes and smells. A new bag of kibble you just opened might be off check and smell the food.
- Has something in your dogs environment changed? When dogs have emotional upsets it often puts them off their food just like our children.
- Have you moved house? Even a simple thing like a new food bowl or changing the place where you feed him can have him turning up his nose at food.
Most dogs also stop eating for a day or two when their owners go off on holiday. Or even just when their favourite companion isnt home a person or another pet. Are there visitors who might be upsetting him? Or a new pet? But, if he normally has a healthy appetite, keep an eye on him, watch and wait. One of the things you need to watch for is that your dog drinks water.
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What Should I Be Feeding My Puppy Now That Theyre An Adult Dog
Find the food that best suits your dogs unique circumstances using our Food Finder tool. If your puppy is already on super premium puppy food we recommend keeping them on this quality of food as they become an adult, as a complete and balanced diet provides your dog with numerous health benefits. For puppies that have not been fed super premium food, transition them to this new diet using the guide below.
All super premium food contains guaranteed quality ingredients so you know exactly whats in your dogs food, and it is created using a scientifically formulated recipe that takes into account health issues, lifestyle and breed so you can find the perfect one to suit your best friend. Your dog will be tip-top shape inside and out with ingredients like DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid, that supports their brain, nervous system, and encourages a healthy skin and coat.
What these highly digestible ingredients mean for you is that your dog will produce smaller, firmer and less smelly stools for you to clean up, and their bolstered immune system will help your pet live a long and healthy life together with you.
Dont worry if your dogs a fussy eater, if they arent 100% satisfied with your purchase, our Super Premium Food Promise means you can receive a replacement product or full refund. And if youre a member of Petbarns Friends For Life loyalty program, youll get great rewards from every dollar spent!
Why Adult Dog Food Is Important
Puppy food is nutrient rich and high in calories to support your puppys growth, development and high energy levels.
Continuing to feed puppy food past the point of maturity could cause him to become overweight, which can lead to other health problems.
Choose a complete and balanced adult dog food formula once your puppy reaches maturity to help him maintain his ideal body condition.
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Unique Problems With Puppies
Your puppys diet and care will need to take into account two specific problems that affect young dogs far more than adult dogs: their delicate digestive system and their reduced immunity.
A puppy has a weaker digestive system than an adult dog, particularly immediately after theyve been weaned, and its easily upset by changes in environment or new foods. They need to be given food that is the right size, shape and texture to make it easy to eat, and highly digestible so they can get all the nutrients they need from it without it causing stomach upsets.
Between the ages of four to 12 weeks, puppies enter a phase called the “immunity gap.” This is where their mothers immune support, passed through her milk, is lessening but their own natural defenses arent fully developed. During this time, their diet is a key way to support this process and boost their immunity through nutrients like vitamin E.
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Signs That Its Time For Adult Dog Food
Both age and weight play a factor in making the switch. Forexample, says Dr. Carlson, if your puppy is close to a year old, and hes gettingchubby, it might be time to switch. Adult dog food has less protein than puppyfood and less calories.
Oneimportant difference in puppy food needs is in breeding, notes Dr. Carlson. Hesays that big breeds, like Great Danes, take longer to stop growing and maybenefit from an additional year on puppy food. ;
Puppies should generally switch to adult dog food whenthey reach a certain age, weight, and/or growth. This works out approximately:
Toy Breeds: The adult weight of toy breeds isgenerally 4 to 7 pounds . They usually finishgrowing at around 10 to 12 months.
Small Breeds: The adult weight of small breedsis around 8 to 20 pounds. They usually finish growing at around 12 months.
Medium Breeds: The adult weight of medium breedsis 21 to 50 pounds. They usually finish growing at around 12 months.
Large Breeds: The adult weight of large breedsis 51 to 85 pounds. They reach maturity at around 18 to 24 months.
Giant Breeds: The adult weight of a giant breed is more than 85 pounds. They reach their adult growth at around 18 to 24 months. Another indicator is when they grow into their paws.
This is only a general guide and will vary with the individualdog, but it should serve as a baseline.
How Often Should I Feed My Puppy
Like human babies, puppies start out needing many small meals a day, of a food formulated for their special nutritional requirements. Most, but not all, dogs finish meals quickly. To discourage picky habits, feed at regular times in regular amounts and dont leave food down for more than 10 to 20 minutes.
Your breeder will be an excellent source of guidance for both of these questions, as will your vet.
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How To Switch Yourpuppys Food
When its time to switch your puppy to adult food,you should do it slowly. Switching too quickly may cause stomach upset andgastrointestinal issue such as vomiting or diarrhea. Leading up to the change,be sure to research your food options.
There is more than commercial food available, such asfresh food deliveryservices. You can also learnhow to make your own homecooked dog food, including the proper supplements that needed to be addedto the food.
Dr. Carlson recommends swapping ¼ of your dogs meal each weekto adult food until you fully transition into adult food. So, on the firstweek, youd give your dog ¼ serving adult food and ¾ puppy food; on the secondweek, youd do ½ adult food, ½ puppy food. This allows your pups stomach to getused to the new food .
While going slow shouldnt make your dogs tummy upset, if you do notice signs like gastrointestinal rumbling, diarrhea, constipation or vomiting, take your pup to the vet.
How To Properly Transition Your Dog’s Food
There are plenty of reasons you may want to switch your dogs current food. Perhaps your dog has been diagnosed with a health issue, youre looking to switch to a more premium dog food, or maybe your dog is just getting older and needs something that better fits their changing nutritional needs.
It is important that your dog switch their food gradually. Switching dog food too fast can lead to tummy trouble for your furry companion. This is particularly important after adopting a dog from shelter; while it is often a good idea to keep your dog on the same food that he was fed at shelter, if you do decide to feed something else you might need to be even more patient. While a dog is adjusting to a new home, he might have anxieties and as a result digestion issues. Because of this reason, many pet parents may blame the food for the digestion issues. While that can be possible, its best to not do a bunch of switches in the first month or so until your dog starts to get familiar with their new home.
To transition, mix your dogs current food with their new food. Over 7 days, gradually decrease the amount of the current dog food while increasing the amount of new dog food.
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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.
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.
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What Defines The Transition From Pup To Grown Up
- At around 4 months of age, puppies begin to lose their baby teeth and grow into their adult chompers. Baby teeth are weaker, so soft food is appropriate for puppies. Adult teeth come with the exciting new experience of eating harder foods.
- Physical maturity. When your dog becomes an adult, they will have stopped growing and will have become their full size!
- Sexual maturity. After a dog goes through their version of puberty they are considered adults.
How Long To Feed Puppy Food
Puppies need a complete and balanced puppy food until they reach maturity. Although dogs who are one year or older are often considered adults, this isnt always the case.
For dogs, adulthood depends more on breed size than their age. Because large and giant breeds take longer to mature, they need to eat puppy food longer than small- or medium-sized breeds.
Heres how long to feed puppy food based on breed sizes:
- Toy and Small Breed Dogs: Many toy and small breed dogs weigh less than 20 pounds at maturity and reach this size between 9 and 10 months of age.
- Medium Dog Breeds: Medium-sized dogs weigh between 21 and 50 pounds at maturity. They tend to reach maturity around 12 months of age.
- Large & Giant Breeds: Large breeds and giant breeds weigh between 50 and 100 pounds, respectively, and can take 18 months to 2 full years to reach maturity. They need to eat puppy food longer than small- and medium-sized breeds.
If you have a mixed breed dog or arent sure how big your dog will be at maturity, its best to consult with your veterinarian. They can tell you when to switch to an adult dog food and help make it a successful transition.
As puppies get older and reach maturity, it is important to monitor their food consumption. Leftovers in a bowl could signal that your puppy is getting full and needs less calories throughout the day. Start by offering less food per feeding and continue to monitor his body condition, says Purina Nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS.
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