When to Switch to Adult Dog Food

A puppy eating from a food bowl

In general, dogs that are less than one year of age are considered puppies. It is important that during that year they are being fed puppy formula pet food. But if you have a puppy nearing one year of age, do you know when to switch to adult dog food? A veterinarian is always a good resource, but you can gauge the best time to switch too.

When to switch to adult dog food

Some typical indicators of the right time to change from puppy food to dog food are dog size, breed and age. Depending on what size breed your dog is, the right age to transition to adult food will differ. Read on to find out more.

Small or medium breed puppies

Small and medium breed puppies are considered to be an adult at about one year of age. In this case, your dog’s birthday indicates when to switch from puppy food. Toy breeds can be an exception to this, as some are considered to be adults at nine months of age. In general, small breed puppies are those who weigh less than 20 pounds at maturity. Medium breed puppies weigh between 21-50 pounds at maturity.

Large or giant breed puppies

Large or giant breed puppies take a little longer to reach maturity, and many of them are still growing until they turn two years old. In general, you should switch to adult food when your puppy is anywhere from 18 months to 24 months old. Large or giant breed puppies’ weight can vary greatly, so it doesn’t offer a great insight into when to switch from puppy to dog food.

Things to consider before switching to adult food

Maturity and adulthood can be difficult to predict. To be sure about your puppy’s age, you can talk to the shelter, breeder, or rescue groups where you adopted your dog as well as talking with a veterinarian to be certain of when to switch your puppy to dog food. The importance of switching lies with nutrition.

The difference between puppy and adult food

Since your puppy is growing, he needs more nutrients and calories than an adult dog. This is why puppy foods have a higher level of protein and fat to support growth, as well as nutrients like DHA, an omega fatty acid found in mother’s milk.

Once your puppy reaches adulthood, he doesn’t need as many calories. Puppy food can quickly lead to excessive weight gain for adult dogs, so the transition is important. Don’t wait until you see weight gain in your dog to make the switch, a proactive approach is better for puppy health. If you’re still feeding puppy food and want to know how much your puppy should be eating, read our article on how much to feed your puppy.

How and when to switch from puppy food to dog food

When you decide to switch to puppy food, it’s time to consider how you will go about it. You should begin slowly. Transition your puppy to adult food over a seven to ten-day period, gradually increasing the ratio of adult food to puppy food.

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Switching dog food should be a gradual process. Whether you're switching from puppy to adult food, or to an option that better meets your dog’s needs, our experts can guide you through the process of changing your dog’s food.
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