Nutrition is an essential aspect of caring for puppies and older dogs. Many pet owners know puppies require food designed to aid development and growth. But, many pet owners need help deciding when to transition to adult-sized dog foods. It is because there isn’t a rule that applies to all breeds. Different breeds develop at different rates. You and your vet can determine the most appropriate moment to switch to your puppy’s diet.
Feeding Puppy Food
Puppy dogs require more incredible energy than adult dog breeds to help support their development, growth, and energy levels. Young puppies require about two times the calories of adult dogs similar in size. As your puppy ages, his development slows, and his caloric requirements decrease. If you continue feeding puppies food after your dog is no longer growing, it could increase weight. The excess weight can rapidly become overweight and cause various health issues.
When to Switch to Adult Food
In general, the dog breed is considered a puppy up to about one-year-old—however, different breeds age at different rates. For example, many large and giant breeds are considered puppies up to two years old and have to eat puppy food until they reach the age of one. In contrast, certain smaller breeds of dogs attain adult size before they reach the 1-year mark. Your vet is the best source of information about the diet of your dog and diet, so seek advice before transitioning to adult-sized food.
In determining the ideal timing to feed adult dogs, It is essential to transition to adult food when the puppy ceases to grow but before he becomes overweight. Track the weight and height of your puppy and observe for figures to increase more gradually. Most dogs begin to attain a plateau at about one year old. However, you may see a decline in growth at around 8 or 9 months of age.
Assessing Your Dog’s Weight
Take note of the fact that weight loss doesn’t necessarily mean growth. When your pet is growing weight but not becoming bigger, taller, or more robust, he may be overweight. It is possible to address the body’s situation at home by following the following steps:
- Move your hands across the dog’s ribcage. You should be capable of feeling the ribs are covered with a slim layer of fat. If you can’t easily sense the bones of the ribs, then your dog might be overweight.
- Check your dog’s face at the sides. The dog should allow you to observe the upward tuck in the stomach. You will see only a small or no tuck if your dog is overweight.
- Look up at your dog from above. There should be some slandering in the waist, just above the ribcage. If you notice a straight line or bulging running from the ribcage up to the hips is a sign of an overweight dog.
The prominent ribs and slim waist could indicate that your dog is not gaining weight. Consult your veterinarian for an exam to make sure.
If your puppy is younger than one year old and is gaining weight, you should cut down on the size of portions and frequency at which meals are served before you transition to adult food. The vets suggest feeding puppies three times every day. However, puppies can be fed three meals daily when they are nearing adulthood.
How to Make the Diet Change
Any changes to your diet must be made gradually to prevent stomach upset. This can be a week or two, depending on your approach.
It could require some time and some research to select the best pet food for your dog which is now an adult. It is possible to stay with the same brand of food, but you should switch to a formula for adult dogs. Your veterinarian can assist you in finding the appropriate diet.
After selecting an adult food for your dog, determine the size of the adult food you’ll eventually have to feed based on your dog’s weight. After that, add an appropriate amount of adult-sized food into the puppy’s diet, and increase it by a small amount at each meal. To make it easier, establish a schedule to ensure you’re not trying to remember the amount of each food item to feed. Many veterinarians advocate a “3 by 3” approach to switching diets “3 by 3” approach for switching diets
- Days 3 and 4 Days 1-3: Feed 1/3 of adult food and 1/3 of the puppy’s food.
- Days 4-6 Days 4-6: Feed 1/2 portion of an adult meal and one portion of puppy food
- Days 9 – 7 Day 7: Feed 2/3 of the adults and 1/3 of the puppies’ food.
- Day 10 and up All day long: Eat a complete portion of food for adults.
During the transition, know your dog’s appetite and stool movements. The transition should be slowed if your dog is experiencing diarrhea and vomiting. If GI upset persists, it may be necessary to switch to a different adult diet and then restart the process. Consult your veterinarian if your dog has had diarrhea or vomiting over a few days.
Check your dog’s weight in the next few months to ensure you don’t have to change the times of your meals. Be sure to be on top of biannual or annual vet wellness checks according to your veterinarian’s recommendations.