Puppies come in all shapes and sizes. That means that the timetable to start feeding a puppy adult dog food can be different depending on his breed, size, and other factors. Some puppies mature much faster than others so they will need to make the switch to an adult food earlier. Other puppies can go on eating a puppy food for over a year! Here are some tips to help you know when to start feeding your puppy adult dog food.
Puppies in General
In general, dogs are considered to be puppies for the first year of their lives. Most dogs are still growing during this time. Even if your puppy looks physically mature, his growth plates https://nationalpurebreddogday.com/before-you-do-something-permanent-know-about-growth-plates/ – the growing tissue near the end of his long bones – may not be closed yet. Feeding your puppy a good puppy food during this time is advisable.
While your puppy is growing he will need more nutrients and calories than an adult dog needs. Puppy foods have more protein and fat to support this growth. They also have nutrients such as DHA – an omega fatty acid that is found in mother’s milk. Your puppy won’t need as many calories after he reaches maturity unless he is doing a lot of work such as hunting, herding, coursing, or another dog activity. It is important to make the transition to an adult dog food. Otherwise your dog can gain weight and become obese.
Making the change from feeding a puppy food to an adult food is not difficult as long as you do it slowly. You can make the transition over a seven to ten day period. During this time you can gradually increase the amount of adult dog food in your puppy’s ration until he is eating only adult dog food.
Toy and Small-breed Puppies
Toy and small-breed puppies typically mature faster than other dogs. Some Toy breeds are considered to be adult dogs by the time they are about nine months of age. You can start feeding these puppies an adult dog food by nine months. Small breed puppies – those weighing around 20 pounds or less – can be physically mature before they are a year old. With these puppies you can usually start feeding them an adult dog food by the time they are 10-11 months old.
Medium-sized puppies weigh between 20-50 pounds as mature adults. These puppies usually become mature when they are about 12 months old. There is some wiggle-room with these puppies because a female puppy might be on the small side or a male puppy might be extra big for his breed. Most puppies will eventually catch up with others of their breed in weight. You can start feeding these puppies adult dog food when they are about 12 months old.
Large Breed Puppies
Dog food companies often lump large breeds together with giant breeds but we consider them to be very different. There is a considerable difference between a large breed dog such as a Golden Retriever that weighs 75 pounds and a giant breed dog such as a Saint Bernard that weighs 140-180 pounds. Large breeds and giant breeds have different health issues, for one thing. And they often have different calorie and exercise requirements. Your large breed puppy will usually mature some time between 12 and 18 months when his growth plates will completely close. You can start feeding him a good adult dog food at this time. Whether you want to feed him a food that is made for large/giant breeds is up to you. Some people do but some people choose to feed dog food that is not made for large/giant dogs. Dog foods for large/giant breeds are usually lower in fat, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. If you have a very active large breed dog, such as a dog that you use for hunting or other sports, foods that contain less fat and which have fewer calories can be problematic.
Giant Breed Puppies
Giant breed puppies take longer to mature. They don’t usually reach maturity until they are between 18 and 24 months old. Some breeds can take even longer to be fully mature. With these puppies, weight is not a good indication of maturity or when to make the switch to an adult dog food because some of these dogs will weigh a lot. It’s usually a good idea to talk to your veterinarian or your puppy’s breeder to find out when they advise you to start feeding an adult dog food.
When to start feeding your puppy an adult dog food varies depending on your puppy’s size and other factors. Toy and small-breed puppies mature faster than other puppies. Giant breed puppies take longer to mature. If you have questions about when to change your puppy’s food, talk to your veterinarian or breeder.