Owning a puppy is all about change; change in size, behavior, and eventually even eating habits. As your puppy grows into adulthood his nutritional needs will change, but how do you know when your puppy is ready for adult food?

As a general rule, dogs that are less than one year of age are considered puppies, and it is important during that year that they are being fed puppy formula pet food. But if your puppy is getting close to that one-year mark could it be time to switch to adult dog food? A veterinarian is always a good resource, but you can gauge the best time to switch as well.  The experts at Purina put together tips to help you figure out when to make the change.

Some indicators of the right time to change from puppy food to dog food are: dog size, breed, and age.

When to switch a puppy to adult dog food

IF YOUR PUPPY IS A SMALL OR MEDIUM BREED:

Both small and medium breed puppies are considered adult at about one year of age, so your dog’s birthday indicates when to switch from puppy food. Toy breeds can be an exception to this. Some are considered adults at nine months of age. Dog weight varies. Small breed puppies are those who weigh less than 20 pounds at maturity. Medium breed puppies weigh between 21-50 pounds at maturity.

 

IF YOUR PUPPY IS A LARGE OR GIANT BREED:

You should switch to an adult dog food when your puppy is anywhere from 18 months to 24 months old. Large or giant breed puppies take a little longer to reach maturity, and many of them are still growing until they turn two years old. Large or giant breed puppies’ weight varies so it doesn’t offer as good an insight on when to switch from puppy food to dog food.

 

Since maturity and adulthood can be difficult to predict, you can talk to the shelter, breeder, or rescue groups where you adopted your dog as well as talking with a veterinarian to be certain of when to switch a puppy to dog food. The importance of switching lies with nutrition.

 

Why transition from puppy food to adult dog food?

When your puppy is growing, he needs more nutrients and calories than an adult dog, which is why puppy foods have higher levels of protein and fat to support growth, as well as nutrients like DHA, an omega fatty acid found in mother’s milk. Once your puppy reaches adulthood, he doesn’t need as many calories. Rich puppy food can quickly lead to excessive weight gain for adult dogs, so the transition is important. Sometimes owners note weight gain and then ask an expert when to switch a puppy to dog food. But a proactive approach is better for puppy health.

 

When to switch from puppy food to dog food and how?

After deciding it is time to switch your puppy to adult dog food, it’s time to consider how you will go about it. You should begin slowly. Transition your puppy to adult food over a seven to 10-day period, gradually increasing the ratio of adult food to puppy food. This article outlines specifics on how to transition dog foods well.