Starting your new dog on the path to healthy eating when they’re a puppy is one of the most important things you can do to ensure wellbeing throughout their lives.
Puppies grow at an incredibly fast rate and need calorie-rich, specifically formulated foods to support their rapid development. Your little ball of fluff needs a good-quality, nutritionally-balanced diet that will help them grow into a healthy adult dog.
But when can a puppy eat adult food? Their diet will need to change when they become an adult that requires different nutritional needs. Here we shed some light on when it’s time to stop feeding puppy food and switch to adult dog food to make sure your furry friend continues to get the very best start in life.
How Long Should I Give Puppy Food?
Your energetic little friend will be growing at a rate of knots, so their food really needs to power them up. Their constant development needs higher levels of fat to boost their weight, protein to support their growth and calcium and phosphorus to ensure healthy bone development.
Our complete recipes are tailored for growing puppies. We recommend feeding your little one puppy food from two to 12 months. Then start to consider when to switch your puppy to adult dog food.
Our puppy foods have 75% protein and the content packs a punch with the addition of liver, which is rich in nutrients, such as iron for energy. They’re also available in grain free for pups with sensitive tums, or with wholegrain oats to aid digestion.
When Should I Transition From Puppy Food To Adult Food?
Before we answer that, it is important to firstly note that puppies must not be overfed. If they are forced to grow too quickly, they can end up with poor bone and joint health. So how do you know when to switch to adult dog food? Good question. It depends on the size and breed of your dog.
The Kennel Club recommends making the change when your puppy reaches about 80% of their full adult size. All dogs vary and will grow at different rates. As a general rule, you can make a decision on when to stop feeding puppy food by considering your puppy’s breed.
Some smaller breeds may need up to twice as many calories as larger breeds. Small dogs typically have a faster metabolism and burn energy at a faster rate.
Working dogs or breeds that are especially active will also need enough calories to support their high energy levels! The same with a female dog expecting a litter of puppies - make sure she’s getting all the nutrients she needs.
Whilst larger dogs generally have slower metabolisms, they can still have large appetites. It’s important to not overfeed them - even if they’re giving you the eyes! And again, for less active dogs, tread carefully to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
If in doubt, your vet will be able to advise you on when to move your dog to adult food.
What’s The Difference Between Adult Dog Food And Puppy Food?
Can puppies eat adult dog food? In the short term, it’s not a problem to feed your puppy adult dog food. But we would recommend using a puppy recipe as soon as is convenient. This will ensure your little pup is getting the nutrition they need according to their lifestage.
Our puppy range of recipes are prepared with salmon oil and a combination of vitamins and minerals specifically designed to support your puppy through the first twelve months of growth and development.
So, when can puppies start eating adult dog food?
Once your pup reaches maturity, they no longer need the calories required for growth. Adult dogs have different dietary requirements. They are ready for a new recipe, packed with a differently balanced set of nutrients, carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals to maintain their health and vitality.
How to Transition From Puppy Food to Adult Dog Food
Switch your dog’s food up gradually so their tummy can get used to the new formula. Allow at least a week for the transition, and if possible, up to 10 days. Simply increase the amount of adult dog food and give less of the puppy food every day until you’ve completed the transition period.
If your young dog has an upset stomach or declines to eat for longer than a day or two, get in touch with your vet.
How Much Adult Dog Food Does My Dog Need?
As your puppy transitions into adulthood, you can expect to decrease the amount of food you’re giving them. The right food to suit your dog’s needs is paramount, and feeding them the correct amount is just as important. Follow the guidelines for your dog’s weight on the packaging. To find out how much your dog weighs, ask your vet. Or work it out at home if your dog is small enough to pick up. Stand on the scales while carrying your dog to calculate their weight.
Once your dog has settled with their new food, keep an eye on their weight to check whether you’re feeding them the right amount. A simple way to know if your dog is at their ideal weight is by doing the rib test. It’s easy and your dog will love the extra attention! Glide your hands over their ribs – if you can feel but not easily see their last two or three ribs, then your dog is doing just fine.
When Should I Feed My Adult Dog?
Dogs love consistency, so once you’ve found a routine that suits both of you, stick to it. Most dog owners choose to feed their hounds between one and three times a day. Find what works for you and then divide up your daily feeding amount into the amount of meals that your dog needs.
Or you could try free feeding. This is when food is left in the bowl, enabling your dog to choose when and how much to eat.
Always remember to leave plenty of water out to keep your dog hydrated.
Starting your puppy off on the right nutrition is one of the best things you can do to help them lead a healthy life. Supporting them on that journey by transitioning to adult food at the right time for them means even more happy memories with your new best friend. Browse our range of puppy foods and adult dog food ranges to find the best recipes to nurture your young dog.