Transitioning from Puppy Food to Adult Dog Food

Transitioning from puppy food to adult dog food is an important step in the health of your dog. Puppy food is formulated for the appropriate growth and development of puppies; whereas adult dog food is made for the strengthening and maintenance of an adult dog. Because they are two different formulas of food that need to be fed respectively, an important part of your dog's overall health is related to the proper transition of his food.

When to Make the Transition

Deciphering when to make the switch from puppy food to adult food can have a big impact on your dog's health. You want to make sure that your puppy is still getting the nutrients that he requires, and at the same time switching him to adult dog food when his nutritional needs change. But how do you know when your dog's nutritional needs have changed?

The answer is relatively based on the size and breed of your dog. While mixed dogs can be a little more complicated to gauge, you can still use the overall size of your dog as an indicator of when his food needs to be changed. So, the first thing you will need to do is determine which of the following categories that your dog fits into: small-breed, medium-breed, large-breed or giant-breed.

Dogs that are considered to be small-breed dogs typically do not grow to weigh more than 20 pounds. Small-breed dogs can safely be switched to adult formula around nine months of age. A medium-breed dog is the next step up, averaging a full grown weight of 20 to 50 pounds and require will require that their food be switched at around one year of age.

Large and giant-breed dogs, on the other hand, will both fall into the same time range for having their food switched. These breeds of dogs typically grow to be anywhere from 50 to 150 pounds and they should be switched to adult dog food around one to two years of age.

The Importance of Age

It is extremely important that you follow the guidelines for your dog's breed and not switch his food too soon or too late. Small-breed dogs will require the earliest switch because their bones are naturally smaller and their full maturity will be reached much quicker than that of a large-breed dog. A dog who intends to weigh 100 pounds full grown has a lot more growing and maturing to do before he can reach the same physical state of maturity as the small-breed dog.

If you switch your dog's food too soon, you may notice that he is not progressing developmentally the way that he should. Likewise, if you wait too long to switch the food, your dog may not be getting enough of the nutrition that he needs and his health may begin to suffer from it. This is why it is important to switch from puppy food to adult dog food at the appropriate time.

Switching the Food

Because a switch in food can sometimes cause stomach upset or even allergies, you should always make sure that the transition is a slow and gradual process. The best way to do this is to work in the adult food over a four day period.

On the first day, you will want to feed your dog predominately puppy food and add only a small amount of adult dog food. Then, on day two, you should make sure that the mixture of puppy food and adult food is half and half respectively. The third day should consist of more adult dog food and only a small amount of puppy food. By the fourth day, the transition should be complete and your dog should only be fed adult dog food.