When to Feed Puppies Dog Food

Puppies dog food and adult dog food are different and you should know when to feed each of these. Puppies up to 4 weeks of age need dog milk. After 4 weeks they need more nutrients than the milk can provide, so it is important that you start giving them puppy food. The transition from puppy food to regular dog food is recommended after his first 9 months. However, depending on the breed, you can go on feeding your dog puppy food until he is 2 years old. In order to make this transition smoother and avoid digestion issues, there are a few simple rules to follow.

From Puppy Food to Dog Food

Veterinarians agree that the best time to consider switching your puppy's diet to dog food is when he has reached 80% to 90% of his expected weight as an adult. Naturally, this occurs differently in various dog breeds. While toy breeds and small breed will get to 80% or their size around the age of 9 months, larger breeds may need the growth nutrients provided by puppy food until 12 or 18 months of age.

As regular dog food has different formulas from puppy food, switching to adult food too soon can interfere with the dog's growth. In large breeds this can lead to skeletal abnormalities.

However, as you are preparing for the diet switch, you can take the time to discuss this with your veterinarian.

Choosing Dog Food for Your Puppy

If you got your puppy from a breeder who already put him on a puppy diet you may want to continue with the same brand. As a general rule, premium brands will offer better protein content. However, you should look at the label to make sure the food contains more than one protein source (turkey, fish or rabbit).

In order to avoid diarrhea, constipation or the dog's refusing the new food, it is recommended that you switch gradually from puppy food to dog food over a longer time (between 2 and 4 weeks).

Start by mixing ¼ dog food with puppy food for a few days. If no digestive issues occur, you can mix half dog food with half puppy food after a few days. Then go to ¾ dog food and in the end, feed only regular dog food.

Remember to leave fresh water available at all times.

Free-Choice Feeding vs. Schedule Feeding Puppies

Even if you prefer free-choice feeding, as it is more convenient, it is recommended that you feed your puppy on a schedule until he is one year old (or even two years old for large breeds).

This means you will wait until switching to dog food and only then, after the dog is accustomed to the new food, you may leave food available at all times.

Feeding your puppy on a schedule is better because you can monitor how much he is eating, thus avoiding development problems or obesity.