Do you know the right way to switch dog food? It may be common knowledge to some, but for many, knowing how to switch dog food is uncharted territory. No matter what your dog’s age – puppy, adult, or senior – you should always conduct a gradual transition from his old food to his new food.
How to Switch Dog Food
Just like humans adjust to a new cuisine in a foreign country, dogs take a bit of time adjusting to a new diet too. When switching dog food, make a slow, measured, and gradual change between dog foods over a 7-10 day period to help your dog avoid digestive upset. That’s something that both you and your dog will appreciate!
Over the course of 7-10 days, gradually increase the amount of new dog food in the bowl until he's made a full transition to his new food.
When to Switch to Adult Dog Food
Since no two puppies are exactly alike, how do you know when to switch to adult dog food? The answer isn’t always straightforward. But considering your dog’s breed size and talking to your veterinarian can provide some good guidelines for when your unique dog will reach maturity.
- Toy breed dogs: Typically, the smaller the dog, the faster he’ll reach adulthood. You can consider your toy breed dog an adult typically around 9 months of age.
- Small breed dogs: Based on the unique nutritional requirements of small breed dogs, most should switch to adult dog food when they’re 12 months old.
- Medium breed dogs: Medium breed dogs typically reach maturity when they’re 12-14 months old.
- Large & giant breed dogs: Large and giant breed dogs have unique nutritional needs due to their size, and the most important and rapid changes occur when they’re puppies. As large breed dogs are considered puppies until they’re about 18-24 months old, having a thorough understanding of what’s best for their unique nutritional needs from the beginning is crucial.
Why Switching Your Dog’s Food to Meet His Growing Needs Matters
Most veterinarians and pet nutritionists don’t recommend switching dog foods too often. If you can, try to find a brand that offers dog food to meet each stage of your dog’s life, from puppyhood to his senior years. Why? Each life stage carries its own considerations for helping your dog live happy and healthy.
- Puppy food should help support areas like healthy brain and vision development, proper bone and muscle growth, and a strong immune system.
- As you prepare your puppy to make the switch to adult dog food, know that his adult dog food should help support his unique nutritional needs and lifestyle. Several health areas to consider are your dog’s activity level, skin and coat health, body condition, and digestive sensitivities.
- A senior dog’s metabolism changes can lead to weight gain or loss of lean body mass, so calories and type of diet should be adjusted accordingly. Dog food designed for the nutritional needs of your senior dog should help support areas like bone and joint health, strong muscles, and his changing activity level.
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