Puppies need lots of nutrients and high energy foods to help them grow to their full potential. Large breed dogs need puppy foods for joint and bone growth, so they can have their muscles grow with their bodies. Smaller breed dogs need puppy food that is easy to eat and give them energy without being overfed, and need food for healthy coats. Even your classic mutt of no known origin needs puppy food. But for how long?
Puppy food is essential for any puppy’s growth. Puppy food provides the nutrients to allow your pup to grow to its full potential without issues. Your puppy’s growing bones and joints and coat are aided with their carefully balanced food. Knowing that puppies need to be on their puppy food for a certain period of their lives before they reach “adulthood” can make for a confusing dilemma. Just when do you switch from puppy food to adult dog food? And do you just change out the foods, or switch them out over time?
For the healthiest growth of your dog, regardless of the breed, feed your puppy food designed for puppies until they hit a year old. While your dog may look full-grown and not like that tiny puppy anymore, they are still young and have a few years left before they reach their “peak.” To allow your dog maximum growth potential for healthy bones, muscle, energy, coat and vitals, keep your puppy on puppy food until they hit that 12 month mark.
Puppies can eat dry puppy food mixed with water when they begin weaning (typically 4-5 weeks), and can be on dry puppy food alone at about 6 to 8 weeks. They can continue eating puppy food safely until they hit a year, in which case they can be transitioned into adult dog food by mixing puppy and adult dog food into their bowls for about a week, gradually lessening the amount of puppy food until the adult food is all your dog is now eating.
Introducing your puppy to adult dog food over time allows their stomachs to get used to their new food, so by the time they are exclusively eating adult dog food they should be having no issues eating adult dog food by itself. If you have concerns about your particular dog’s diet, always call your vet for their advice on your dog’s health and diet.