Puppies grow quickly, therefore requiring special food that contains more protein and calories than adult food. As they mature their nutritional requirements change and puppy food is no longer required; so, transitioning to adult food at the right time can be crucial, and switching too early can result in bone and joint abnormalities. So, when is the right time to switch and what is the best way to go about it? Carry on reading for our top tips on how and when to transition your pup to adult food.
Timing is Key
Transitioning to adult food should coincide with maturity however this is not always universal among all dog breeds. Larger breeds mature slower than smaller breeds. In general, small and medium dogs reach maturity around 9-12 months, with large dogs at 12-15 months and giant breeds 18-24 months.
Watch for Signs
Growing puppies have higher energy needs than adult dogs but once they have reached maturity their metabolic rate slows. Your dog will give you signs when they’re ready to transition to adult food; they may skip meals or leave food they would have normally eaten. The calorie-dense puppy food will have filled them up much quicker and fulfilled their energy demands when they have reached maturity.
Do it Gradually
The best way to introduce adult food to your dog’s diet is to do it slowly. Over a week – 10 days, gradually mix in more adult food to your dog’s favourite puppy food. At the same time decreasing the amount of puppy food in the bowl so by the end of the week your dog should only be eating adult food. Gradually introducing food to your pup helps prevent any gastrointestinal issues and will result in a happier pooch.
How Much Do They Need?
The amount of adult food you should give your dog depends on their size, breed, metabolic rate and activity level. As your dog matures its metabolic rate will decrease so you may find after transitioning to adult food you need to give your dog smaller portions or decrease the amount of time you feed them in the day. Pups should usually be fed three times a day, however when you transition to adult food you should cut down to twice a day.