From being a small and fluffy ball of fun, your puppy is well on his way to becoming an adult dog. This significant development heralds a few critical changes, including your pet’s nutrition.
For your furry pal, not just any kind of food will do. To ensure that his nutritional needs are adequately met, you have to feed him high-quality pet food for puppies. But over time, as your puppy reaches maturity, his current dog food will not be able to keep pace with his changing health needs, making it vital to switch to one more suited for his growing body.
How should your beloved canine pal make the transition from puppy food to adult dog food? Here are a few essential things to consider.
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From puppy to adult dog
The first important thing that you need to determine is when your puppy will be making the transition to becoming an adult dog.
One key thing to remember is that each puppy is unique. In a broad sense, puppies follow the same developmental timeline. However, even puppies from the same litter may develop at different paces, so it’s best to observe your puppy’s individual development.
Generally, dogs are considered to be adults when they reach the age of one or two years old.
Sexual maturity or the ability to sire or give birth to puppies is not a sign that a puppy has become an adult. Some canines can already reach sexual maturity at around six months, but for the most part, a puppy is generally still a puppy at this stage.
Physically, a puppy may look mature and full-grown. But often, physical maturity can occur even if a dog is still considered a puppy. It is also worthwhile to consider a pup’s breed. Smaller breeds tend to reach their physical maturity around their first birthday. Larger breeds, on the other hand, reach physical maturity between the ages of one and two.
On the other side of the spectrum, you also have to look at your pup’s emotional maturity. Emotional maturity refers to how your pet acts.
Like physical maturity, each puppy will become emotionally mature at his own pace. Typically, emotional maturity will correspond with his hormonal surges. And just like teens, you will notice a few odd behaviours from your puppy as he makes the transition toward adulthood. Such behaviours include testing boundaries and acting out.
After this phase, between one and one and a half years of age, you will see a marked change in your puppy where his true temperament and personality begin to emerge.
A dog is considered emotionally mature when he readily responds to training, takes less time to settle down, and can socialise well with other dogs.
Puppy food vs. adult dog food
Visiting Dubai’s pet foods stores, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available for you and your furry little pal. How exactly can you choose the right type of food at his current stage of development?
To better answer that question, it is worthwhile to see and understand the differences between puppy and adult food.
Generally, dog food can be classified into two types: food for adult maintenance (adult food) and food for growth and reproduction (puppy and lactating dog food).
Between the two types of dog food, puppy food contains 22.5 percent calories derived from protein sources. Adult food, on the other hand, has only 18 percent calories from proteins.
The reason behind this formulation is that too much protein in adult dog food can lead to excess weight.
Puppy food also contains a higher amount of fat than adult dog food. Compared to proteins and carbohydrates, fats are more calorie-dense. This means that the macronutrient can provide more energy for puppies. Adult dogs don’t need as much fat content in their diets.
When and how to make the transition from puppy food
Switching your dog from puppy to adult dog food isn’t something that you can or should do arbitrarily. In order to determine whether your pet can switch to adult food, there are a few things that you should consider.
One of the first things to consider is your dog’s breed. The growth rate differs among different dog breeds. Generally speaking, smaller breeds mature faster than their larger counterparts.
Small dog breeds tend to mature anywhere between seven months to one year of age. Medium breeds, on the other hand, can reach maturity between one and one and a half years old. Large breeds reach maturity between one and two years. Finally, giant breeds, which can reach weights up to 80 pounds, need two full years to reach maturity.
Before your dog reaches full maturity, you should consult your veterinarian about when you can change your pet’s food.
When you begin giving your pup adult food, you have to make sure the transition is gradual. Instead of giving a full serving of the new food, you should mix a small amount of the new food with his old puppy food. Over the course of a week, slowly increase the portion of the adult food while minimising the portion of the puppy food. At the end of the week, your dog should have made the full transition to his new diet. Keeping the change slow will help prevent tummy problems with your pet.
One important thing to remember about serving portions is that an adult dog no longer needs to eat thrice a day. Unlike puppies, adult dogs have a slower metabolism and do not need to eat as often. You can feed your adult dog twice a day, dividing the suggested feeding portion into two.
Do not rely solely on the suggested portions from the pet food manufacturer. Instead, observe your pet and his eating habits. If your dog leaves a small portion of his food every mealtime, consider reducing his food portions.
A puppy’s nutritional needs are different from an adult dog’s. Work closely with your veterinarian to determine when your puppy should transition to adult food and ensure that he gets the nutrients he needs for his next stage of life.