Puppies are very cute, but they also need a lot of work and looking after. Puppies grow much faster than human babies do. And this is why they also need special puppy food. But when should you start them on the puppy food and when should you stop feeding it to them?
Why Should You Give Them Puppy Food?
Puppies need a lot of calories to fuel their growth. Puppy food is different from adult dog food in that it contains many more calories and has a higher proportion of vitamins and minerals. All of this combines to give your brand new pup the energy that they need to grow at a normal rate.
One of the problems with giving adult dog food to puppies is that they don’t get all of the high fat content and nutrients that they need for optimal growth and development. Likewise, puppy food is a no-no for adult dogs as it will not give them the balanced diet they need and can even cause them to put on extra weight due to the higher fat and calorie content.
Ideally, you should start feeding your dog puppy food when they are three or four weeks old. If you start mixing it in slowly with their regular diet, they will get used to it and will adjust without too many problems.
When Should You Stop Feeding Them Puppy Food?
If you’ve been happily feeding your dog puppy food for a while, you might be wondering when to stop feeding puppy food. Ideally, you should stop feeding it to them when they have experienced ninety percent of their growth. But if you’re not entirely sure when to stop feeding puppy food, here are some other signs to look out for:
1. They Put On Weight
Due to the higher fat and caloric content of puppy food, older dogs will put on more weight easily if you feed it to them. A puppy will need these extra calories and fats for energy and optimal growth, but once they are done with most of their growing, the extra calories will simply be converted to fat.
If you see that your dog is gaining weight around their tummy and is looking more than a little pudgy, it’s definitely time to stop feeding them puppy food, no matter how much they like it.
2. Your Dog’s Coat Starts to Lose Shine
One of the issues when feeding puppy food to adult dogs is that it lacks the omega fatty acids that contribute to skin health and coat health. If you notice that the coat of your dog is looking dull or that their skin is starting to flake, it’s time to change their diet. In this context, it’s time to stop feeding them puppy food and transition them to adult dog food instead.
3. They Seem Listless and Weak
If your dog is a bit listless and lethargic, it could be due to an illness. But it could also be due to an improper diet too. If they are not recovering as quickly from long walks in the park or they just don’t seem especially interested in vigorous play time, it might be their food that’s to blame.
In this case, it’s a good idea to transition them to adult dog food that has higher than normal levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants will help them to recover more quickly and will boost their immune system.
4. They Are Often Sick
The truth is that puppies are well-known for ingesting things that can make them sick. This is a way for the puppy to learn what’s good to eat and what to stay away from. But if your puppy is often sick, vomits, or has loose stools, it may be due to the fact that they are eating a lower quality diet than they need.
Puppy food is great for growing pups, but it does lack all of the vitamins and minerals needed for when they are older. Unwell pets are not easy to deal with, and constant visits to the local vet are not cheap. If you’ve been feeding your dog puppy food for a while and they are feeling unwell, it’s probably time to switch food to see if their health improves.
5. They Are Having an Allergic Reaction
One problem that many owners aren’t aware of is that dogs can suffer from allergies just like humans. If your puppy has itchy skin or seems to be suffering from the common symptoms of allergies, it could be due to a puppy food diet that is lacking in nutrients for their age. It may also be a sign that their puppy food that is low in quality and may need to be changed to a higher quality diet from a different brand.
Some Easy to Use Guidelines
The fact is that it’s not always easy to know when to stop feeding puppy food, so here are some easy tips to follow:
- If your puppy is around one year of age, you should think about transitioning them to adult food.
- The size and growth rate of your puppy will determine when to stop feeding them puppy food. If your dog has finished growing in relation to the normal breed size of the dog – toy, small, medium, or large – it’s time to make the transition to adult food.
- If you are in any doubt, you can always consult your local vet for their advice, as they will know exactly when to make the food transition.
Puppies are cute, but they need to be constantly cared for and looked after by a responsible owner. One of these many responsibilities is ensuring that they get the proper nutrition from their diet. Puppy food gives them enough nutrition so they can grow quickly and provides them with plenty of energy, but it’s no good for adult dogs.
Knowing when to transition your growing puppy from puppy food to adult food can sometimes be tricky, but there are some easy guidelines to follow. Just remember that you can always make an appointment with your local vet to ask for advice.