Proper care and diet are very essential for a puppy for their balanced growth and overall health.
Taking care of a puppy is like taking care of a baby.
The puppy owners have to maintain and formulate a consistent and healthy diet plan for the puppies to make sure that the puppy is getting all the necessary nutrients and vitamins for steady growth and development.
One has to have perfect knowledge about what food items are vital for their puppies and what food items are not supposed to be fed to them.
Usually, puppies begin to rely on adult dog food after reaching a certain level of maturity for their breed and size.
However, this theory widely varies from breed to breed.
It is significant for a pet owner to not rush and force the little puppy into consuming the adult dog food in the early stages when they are developing and building bones, teeth, organs and other components of their body.
In fact, the early stages are the most important ones to ensure that the puppy is fully developed before feeding adult food.
Is Your Puppy Ready for Adult Dog Food?
Feeding a puppy can be tricky in most cases, especially if one has never had a puppy before and new to taking care of a puppy.
This is the first question that usually comes to mind- ‘can puppies eat adult dog food’?
First-time puppy owners must not get swayed watching the tempting looking dog food in the market.
They should do proper research on what is best for their puppy. High-quality ingredients with better formulas and nutrients lead to overall good health and better development of the dog.
All puppies need special nutritional foods for their growth.
If the label on the dog food says that the food is formulated for dogs of all life stages, then that means the food contains both growth and reproduction and adult maintenance nutrients and substances.
It has the components that are required for puppy growth and also to maintain that growth. This food can be fed to the puppy even in the early stages.
Puppies can, of course, eat adult dog food, but it is suggested that they first start with the puppy dog food.
Puppies have different nutritional needs when compared to adult dogs and it is essential that they get all the important nutrients.
Puppy Feeding Schedule
6 to 12 weeks
The puppies aged between 6 to 12 weeks must only be fed puppy food and a diet that is specially formulated for growing puppies to satisfy their needs for normal growth.
Feeding the adult dog food will rob the puppy of the vital nutrients required for initial growth and development.
Puppies should be fed four times a day and should be given dry dog food by the time they turn 9 or 10 weeks.
3 to 6 months
During this period, the pet owner can reduce the number of meals per day to three since the body has matured a little by the time they turn three months.
6 to 12 months
This is the time when the puppies can be fed only twice a day. Excessive nutrients intakes can also lower energy levels slightly.
After this phase has passed, the puppy owner can switch to full-on adult dog food for maintaining a proper diet.
However, it is always recommended by nutritionists and dietitians that being on puppy food for a little longer is always better than feeding adult food to the puppy in a rush for caution.
After 12 months
This is the best time to start feeding the puppy the adult dog food.
How much food should you give to the puppy?
The portion sizes and amount of food given to a puppy depending on the puppy’s natural metabolism and body type.
The nutritional requirements of the dogs depend on the dog to dog.
If the dog is skipping a meal or two, do not worry as it is their way of coping to eliminate excess feeding. Keep the dog treats small in portion.
How often should you feed the puppy?
Just like babies, puppies also require small, repetitive meals every day to meet their special nutritional requirements.
In order to discourage overeating or picky habits, the food must not be left out for more than twenty minutes.
Chart and measure the puppy’s weight and growth
There are growth and weight charts available for puppy-owners online as well as vet clinics.
A puppy owner must weigh their puppy weekly and review his progress. Their weight and size must be compared to the breed-appropriate weight charts.
By doing this one can optimize the food quantity and alter the meal portions to achieve an average growth rate.
A slight difference from the weight chart is fine as long as the puppy is not considered under or overweight.
Obesity in dogs can lead to diabetes, heart-related issues and general lethargy. If the puppy is begging with those pleading, emotional gaze, do not mistake that begging appeal with care or affections.
Scientists suggest that overfeeding a puppy in the name of care and love can have harmful and even fatal results.
A puppy owner must always consult their veterinarian before making a major switch in the puppy’s diet.
Sudden food changes may cause digestion problems in puppies and in order to avoid them on should shift onto a new diet gradually.
Starting with small portions is best to ensure diet change is a successful process for both the puppy and the owner.
How to switch from puppy food to adult dog food?
When one is making a change in the puppy’s diet, this change must be regulated gradually and consistently.
This doesn’t put pressure on the puppy’s digestive system and it is easier for them to get used to the new food.
The entire household should be committed to the dog’s dietary plan. If the puppy looks all grown up, do not start feeding the puppy adult dog food.
Always check in with the veterinarian whether the puppy is fully matured or not. Ask for suggestions to find the best food options for the puppy.