All Things Dog

Your Puppy’s Diet As He Grows

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The puppy that never rested and was constantly on the move turns into a much more relaxed dog. As a result, full-grown dogs need less energy than puppies, so food for the adult dog is usually lower in energy. As your puppy leaves the puppy stage and grows into an adult it’s important to start thinking about what you feed him.

When should I change my puppy’s diet?
The time to change your puppy's diet or calorie intake depends upon his breed, as each breed matures at different times. Right now your puppy is between the ages of 9 and 12 months. Depending on his breed he may have reached his adult size. Although it is different for each dog, generally, small breeds reach adult weight in 6 to 9 months, while large breeds can take 18 to 24 months to reach adult weight. It’s a good idea to start planning your puppy’s new diet now, so when the time is right for his diet to be changed you are ready. As a general rule, when a puppy has reached 75 to 80 percent of his adult size it’s time to make the switch to an adult diet. But there are so many types of dogs, with different breeds maturing at various times, that it’s best to consult your veterinarian as to when you should change your puppy’s food to adult food.

"A new diet should be introduced over a period of three to five days, which allows the pet time to become accustomed to the new product," recommends Dr. Jim Sokolowski, DVM, PhD. By making the change gradually it is easier on your puppy’s digestive system and taste buds.

A healthy diet
Your veterinarian can advise you as to when the time is right to change your puppy’s diet. Don’t change your puppy’s food too early. Adult dog food does not provide all the nourishment an active puppy needs. Puppies need food that is higher in energy because they are more active than adult dogs. "Like humans, pets have differing needs during specific life stages; unfortunately these life stages are much less obvious to identify," says Dr. Sokolowski. "But, because pets have virtually no say in what and when they eat, it's our duty as responsible pet owners to learn to recognize those life stages or events and respond to them by providing proper care and nutrition. Pet owners should always keep in mind that each pet is unique."

Proper nutrition is one of the best gifts you can give your pup as it allows your puppy to reach his full potential.

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