Puppies grow up way too fast. One minute your pooch is just a little ball of fur, and the next minute he has grown into a strong, full-grown adult. When your dog hits this stage, you may begin wondering if it's time to switch to the adult version of their food. However, that decision isn't always so cut and dry. Here's everything you need to know about when to switch from puppy food to adult dog food: What's the difference?
- Puppy food is packed with protein, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals to help nourish a growing pup's muscles, bones and organs. Adult dog food is lower in calories and provides nutrients specifically formulated for when dogs are no longer in the puppy stage.
- The best time to switch dog food depends on the breed of your dog. Small breeds (30 pounds or less) hit maturity around one year of age, while large breeds (50 pounds or more) may not reach maturity until two years old. Most medium-size dogs typically reach maturity between 12 to 14 months.
- Talk to your veterinarian. If you aren't sure how big your pup will grow — especially if he's a mixed-breed or adopted — ask your veterinarian. She'll be able to help determine your dog's weight and can offer recommendations for proper feeding.
- Start slow. Once you have made the decision to switch over to adult formula, introduce your dog to the new food gradually. Begin by mixing a small amount of the new food with the current food. Over the course of a week, add more and more of the new food (and less of the old) until the transition is complete.
- Keep an eye on portion sizes. As your puppy grows into an adult, you will need to monitor the amount of food he eats. Check with your veterinarian to determine the right amount of food to feed your dog daily, and refer to the feeding guidelines on the package.
- As much as we wish they could, puppies won't stay little forever. When your pup reaches his full-grown weight, make sure to talk to your veterinarian about when to switch from puppy food to adult dog food.
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