Your puppy’s nutritional needs will change as he grows into adulthood, but how do you know when your puppy is ready for adult food?
Depending on his breed size, at some point between 12 and 24 months of age, you should reexamine your puppy's nutritional needs and choose the right adult formula. His adult food could depend upon his metabolism (Does he gain weight easily?) and his activity level (Is it low, normal, or high?) These factors can help you find the ideal food for your dog.
The transition to a premium adult formula should begin when your dog approaches adult height and weight. The kind of dog you have will determine the right time to switch. When you do switch to adult formula, follow the same four-day process as you did when introducing your puppy to premium puppy food.
Small-breed dogs tend to mature physically much sooner than large-breed dogs. Follow these guidelines to help you decide when to switch formulas:
- Small-breed dogs (20 pounds or less when fully grown) are usually ready to transition to an adult formula when they are 9 to 12 months of age.
- Medium-breed dogs (between 20 and 50 pounds when fully grown) normally mature at around 12 to 14 months of age.
- Large-breed dogs (more than 50 pounds when fully grown) might not be ready to switch to an adult food until they are between 12 and 24 months old.
Why Switch to an Adult Formula?
As your new puppy quickly matures into adulthood, he needs nutrition appropriate for his "new" body. That means a high-quality, premium adult formula. Most veterinarians agree that feeding a complete and balanced premium food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks, throughout your dog's adulthood can promote a long and healthy life.
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Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.
4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food
1. Introduce the new food gradually.
When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:
- Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
- Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
- Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food
At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.
2. Watch your body language.
Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.
3. Don't give in to demands.
Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.
4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.
Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.
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