Every dog has different nutritional needs at different points in his life, which is why it’s important to feed your dog an age-appropriate dog food. But when your puppy starts to grow up, and he isn’t so little anymore, when should you start feeding him adult dog food?
The answer depends on your puppy’s breed size.
- If you have a small or medium breed puppy...
Small breed puppies are those who weigh less than 20 pounds at maturity. Medium breed puppies weigh between 21-50 pounds at maturity. Both small and medium breed puppies are considered adult at about one year of age, so you should switch to an adult dog food when your puppy is about one year old,
- If you have a large or giant breed puppy…
You should switch to an adult dog food when your puppy is anywhere from 18 months to 24 months old. 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.
If you’re still not sure about when your puppy will reach adulthood, ask your veterinarian, or talk to the shelter, breeder or rescue group where you adopted your puppy. When you do make the switch to adult dog food, make sure to do so slowly over a period of seven to 10 days, gradually increasing the amount of adult dog food and decreasing the amount of puppy food in your dog’s bowl. This will help you avoid any digestive disturbance that can be caused by an abrupt change in diet. You may also need to adjust the amount of food you’re feeding your dog at each meal, so make sure to check the feeding guidelines on the new bag.
Why should I switch my puppy to adult dog food?
When your puppy is growing, he needs more nutrients and calories than an adult dog, which is why puppy foods have higher levels 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, and rich puppy food can quickly lead to excessive weight gain for adult dogs.
Want more information about how and what to feed your puppy? Click here to learn more about puppy nutrition and what you should look for in a puppy food.