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When to Switch to Adult Dog Food

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Puppyhood is so much fun! But eventually, pups grow up.

The fun doesn’t end with puppyhood, though. If anything, your friendship will grow even deeper with each year of having your dog by your side.

During this transition into adulthood, you may be wondering… when does my puppy need to eat adult dog food?

Read on for more information on making this important change…

Why, When, and How to Switch Your Puppy to Adult Dog Food 

Right now, your puppy probably has a ton of energy and wants to play all the time!

And a lot of that energy will continue into adulthood. But, just like us human beings, it’s natural to have some slowing down of their metabolism as they exit their “childhood and teen” years and grow into an adult.

That’s the main reason your puppy will need a change of food…

Why Switch from Puppy Food to Adult Dog Food? 

Because of that faster metabolism of youth—and the nutritional demands of growth—puppy food is formulated with more calories, fat, protein, and certain other nutrients than adult dog food.

All of this is very important during puppyhood. It’s the right nutrient profile to help your puppy grow up strong and healthy.

However, for most adult dogs (serious athletes and pregnant or lactating dogs may be exceptions), puppy foods provide a far higher calorie density than they need.

So, unless you really cut back on their quantity of food (which could leave them feeling hungry all the time), there’s a good chance your dog will gain weight if they continue to eat their puppy food as an adult.

Considering the health risks that come with obesity—such as arthritis and increased risk of orthopedic injuries, diabetes, cancers, and other health problems—it’s best to keep your young adult pup at a healthy weight, right from the start.

When Should Puppies Switch to an Adult Dog Food? 

The simple answer is: When they stop growing.

The more detailed answer involves a few more factors…

For example, not all dogs finish growing into adults at the same age.

Individual factors play a role, but on average, small and toy breeds mature faster (by 10-12 months of age) while larger breeds take longer to finish growing (up to 24 months for giant breeds).

Also, when some dogs are spayed or neutered, they may experience an earlier slowing down of their metabolism.

So, your veterinarian may have you monitor their weight more closely after the procedure, and may recommend a transition to adult food a little bit sooner—especially if your pup is already on the plump side for their age.

The exact age is a decision best discussed with your veterinarian.

How Do You Change a Puppy’s Food? 

The first thing you’ll need to decide is which food to feed your puppy as an adult.

A good place to start would be an adult food from the same brand of puppy food you’re currently feeding, assuming your pup likes the food and is doing well on it. If you are transitioning from one Fromm product to another, like Puppy Gold to Adult Gold, a transition period is not absolutely necessary, but is encouraged.

That way, the transition won’t feel like such a big change, and it will be less likely to upset your pup’s tummy.

However, ANY food change can potentially result in an upset stomach or diarrhea. That’s because it takes time for the digestive tract to get used to something new, especially if your puppy has a sensitive stomach.

Making the change slowly and gradually will help prevent these symptoms. A slow change will also make your dog more likely to accept the new food if they’re a picky eater.

Here are two ways to make the switch slowly…

  • The Mixing Method.
    • Mix the puppy food and new adult food together, starting with a smaller portion (25%) of the adult food. This works out to about 1 part new adult food per 3 parts puppy food.
    • After a few days, switch to a 50:50 mix—half puppy, half adult.
    • After a few more days, switch to 75% adult food, 25% puppy food (3 parts adult to 1 part puppy).
    • In another few days, switch to 100% adult food.
  • The Two Bowls Method.
    • Place a bowl with a small amount of the new adult food right next to your puppy’s regular food bowl (which still contains their puppy food).
    • Allow your pup to warm up to and nibble at the new adult food.
    • Continue like this for a few days, gradually adding a larger quantity of the adult food (and reducing the amount of puppy food accordingly).
    • After a few days to two weeks, take up the puppy food so your dog is eating just the adult food.

Some dogs do better with one method over the other—so if one doesn’t work well, try the other.

If needed, experiment with different flavors and textures of adult dog food, too, until you find something your pup really likes. 

Just don’t let them pick and choose between too many different kinds of food—otherwise they may grow up to be a very finicky eater. That can make it difficult to switch foods again if they ever need to do so in the future.

Most pups take very well to the switch to adult food, though. And you’ll be providing your pup with all the nourishment they need for their health and playtime as an adult.


From our family to yours,

Fromm Family Pet Food