Puppy Food vs. Dog Food

Puppy food contains more nutrients than regular adult food and also has a higher content of vitamins which makes it better for puppies. Adult food has a balanced formula and is suited for the needs of dogs that are no longer growing. Feeding adult food to puppies can lead to skeletal malformations, which may also happen if an adult dog gets puppy food.

Puppy Food or Dog Food?

Some dog foods are formulated differently for each stage of a dog's development and some have a general formula to be fed to dogs of all ages, meaning that they are suited for all needs, including those of puppies.

Puppies should avoid foods that have a high protein and calcium content, which can trouble the development of the puppy. This may be due to the different rhythm of growth of bones vs. growth of tendons and muscles, leading to strains. Also, the excess of calcium will be deposited on the puppy's bones causing malformations and limping.

Some brands of dog food will have more than 2 types of puppy food, divided into categories that vary according to growth stages.

When to Start and Stop Feeding Puppy Food

Puppy food will be fed to puppies starting with the third or fourth week of life, while still being with their mother. Mixing solid food in their diet little by little will make it easier for them to adjust.

Although the label might advise using puppy food until your dog is one year old, most veterinarians and breeders recommend that you only feed your dog puppy food until he has reached 90% of his growth (discuss with your veterinarian at what age your dog reaches this stage).

Changing your dog's diet from puppy food to dog food should be a gradual process.

  1. Start with only one quarter adult food mixed with three quarter puppy food.
  2. After a few days, make it half and half, then switch to three quarters adult food.
  3. When your dog seems accustomed to this, you can feed him only dog food.

Large Breed Puppy Food

Giant breed dogs have special requirements when it comes to puppy diet. Their joints need to support more weight and their growth puts more tension on the body. Unsuitable diet during growth can cause severe skeletal problems, so it is best that you feed your large or giant breed dog large breed puppy food. Also, large dogs will need the puppy food until they are 12 to 18 months old.

You should pay special attention to what is written on the puppy food package. It's best for your dog to get several types of proteins (such as pork/chicken/fish or turkey/fish/beef). Also, high content of salt or corn can be detrimental, especially for larger dogs. Always discuss your dog's diet and diet changes with your veterinarian.