Puppies, as playful and unstructured as they are, need a stable and consistent diet. A disruption or sudden change in their diet can upset their small stomachs, resulting in discomfort and diarrhea.
Why Switch Your Puppy’s Food?
Before switching your puppy’s food, consider if you should. If your puppy is a new addition to your home and comes from a breeder, you may want to transition your new puppy to the puppy food of your choice. If you have more than one puppy or dog you may be brand loyal, or are set on specific nutritional requirements.
Tips for Switching Your Puppy’s Food
You can successfully switch your puppy’s food and cause the least amount of discomfort by doing it gradually. It could take as little as seven to 10 days to switch your puppy’s food, or for more sensitive puppies the change may take a couple of months.
When you want to switch your puppy’s food, you will need to mix the old food in with the new food. Start by adding one tablespoon of the new food and mixing it with the other dog food. This is not an additional tablespoon, it’s in place of one tablespoon of the older dog food. Monitor your puppy’s stools and be on the look out for signs of diarrhea.
You can gradually increase the percentage of the new puppy food mixed in with the older puppy food you no longer want to use, until your puppy is eating only your preferred new puppy food.
When to Switch from Puppy Food to Dog Food
When you switch your puppy from puppy food to dog food will depend on when your puppy has reached maturity. Your veterinarian can help you determine when your specific breed of dog has finished growing.
The switch from puppy food to dog food could occur anywhere from age 1 to 2 years old, depending on the dog breed. Smaller breeds can be transitioned closer to the one-year mark, while larger breeds may switch closer to the two-year mark.
How to Switch from Puppy Food to Dog Food
For seven to 10 days, introduce increasing portions of dog food into the puppy food, while decreasing the amount of puppy food in the bowl.
Good Puppy Feeding Habits
– Keep a full bowl of water near your puppy’s food and change it daily.
– Schedule your puppy’s feedings consistently, by feeding him at the same times each day.
– Keep both the water bowl and dog-food bowl as clean as your own dishes
American Veterinary Medical Association, http://www.avma.org