Making the Switch – How to Transition Your Puppy to Adult Dog Food

April 1, 2023

Changing your puppy’s food to an adult formula can be challenging. But it’s essential to do so correctly so your pup can get the nutrition they need without suffering from an upset stomach. Puppies need more protein and fat than adult dogs to grow, and foods formulated for puppies usually contain nutrients like DHA, which is found in the mother’s milk.

Feeding Schedules

If you are wondering when should you switch from puppy to adult dog food, there are things to consider. Choosing the right food, feeding schedules and monitoring your dog’s weight and body condition are all important parts of switching to adult dog food. Puppies should be fed a nutrient-rich diet high in calories to support their growth, development and energy levels. They must also consume smaller meals daily to avoid overburdening their small stomachs. As your puppy gets older, you can reduce its daily feeds to two or even just one meal a day, depending on your dog’s activity level. Mix a portion of the new food with your puppy’s diet to transition from puppy to adult food. This is best done over a week or so, gradually increasing the new food daily to allow your dog to adjust to the change without experiencing any digestive problems. For puppies, this means feeding 40% puppy food and 60% adult dog food for the first couple of days. Then, increase the percentage of adult dog food by one quarter each day until you have reached 100% adult dog food.

Choosing the Right Food

Choosing the right food for your puppy is crucial to your dog’s development. Fortunately, there are plenty of great options to choose from that meet your growing pup’s nutrition needs! First, ensure you use a high-quality, reputable brand that produces safe and wholesome foods. It’s also a good idea to read the label analysis section to ensure you’re feeding a healthy diet supporting your pup’s growth.

If you’re considering switching your puppy to a different type of dog food, it’s best to do it gradually. Start by adding a small amount of the new formula to your puppy’s diet every few days. Increase the proportion of the new food until your puppy has completely switched over to it. If you’re unsure how to transition your puppy to a new diet, ask your veterinarian for advice. They can perform a calorie calculation and provide you with recommendations for a food that will suit your dog’s individual nutritional needs. Then, you’ll need to monitor your pup’s weight, stools and behavior to determine whether the change was successful.

Monitoring Your Pup’s Weight

As dogs grow older, their nutritional needs change. They need complete, balanced, high quality and age-appropriate food to help them maintain a healthy weight and support their overall health.

When you transition your puppy to adult dog food, it is important to do so slowly and carefully. This will make it less likely that your pup will experience gastrointestinal problems as they adjust to the new food.

A puppy weight chart is a great way to monitor your pup’s weight. These charts estimate what your puppy should weigh at different stages of their development. To use this chart, find the weight your puppy currently weighs (along the top of the chart) and follow it down to estimate what they would weigh at each milestone. For example, if your German Shepherd puppy weighs 14 lbs at eight weeks old, you can find that weight and follow it down to see how much it might weigh by six months and 68 lbs when fully grown. Your puppy should gain between ten to 15 percent of their birth weight daily during this time. They should double their birth weight by eight to ten days of age.

Keeping an Eye on Your Pup’s Stool

Keeping an eye on your dog’s stool can be helpful for you to detect any changes in their health. It’s a great way to know how well they digest their new food and whether they are gaining weight.

Poop quality is essential for many reasons, but if you’re transitioning your puppy to adult dog food, it’s also worth checking their stools to see if they are getting the right balance of nutrients. Your puppy’s unique gut microbiome can determine nutrient absorption, weight gain, immune function, and longevity. The color, consistency, and coating of your dog’s poop are vital for determining whether their stool is healthy. If your dog’s stool turns to liquid or becomes hard, it could indicate an upset stomach or other digestive problem. Soft stools can be caused by various factors, including stress, reaction to medications like deworming, or a change in diet (eating too much fiber or switching foods too quickly). Changing your pup’s poop color can mean they suffer from allergies, sensitivities, or digestive problems. If your dog is showing any signs of a problem, you must call the vet immediately. Bloody poop indicates something is wrong, which can be especially troublesome for smaller dogs.

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