Most new puppy owners are overwhelmed when shopping for food. They get confused because there are so many options to choose from. And we all want the best for our precious pups!
So, let’s learn about puppy food!
We would be wrong to say, “No, puppies can’t eat adult dog food,” but we wouldn’t be right either.
So you might want to read this! Here’s a quick preview of what we’re covering:
- Difference between Puppy and Adult Dog Food
- What Happens if a Puppy Eats Adult Dog Food
- How to Choose Puppy Food?
- 5 Tips for Choosing Puppy Food
- How Much to Feed a Puppy?
- When to Switch to Adult Dog Food?
At the growing stage, puppies still need a ton of nutrition to help them develop (physically and mentally) and grow properly. They have high levels of energy resulting in losing tons of calories. They need proper fat, minerals, vitamins, proteins, etc., which adult dog food doesn’t contain.
Now with all that energy, you can play together! If you don’t feed your pup the required nutrients, they can develop problems. So, consider providing your pup a well-balanced, nutrient-filled diet appropriate for them.
Read along to know more about what’s best for your pup!
Bonus Fact: Well-balanced food helps keep the puppy’s body temperature in control and improves movement.
Difference Between Puppy and Adult Dog Food
You might be thinking, “Yeah, Ok. I get it that I shouldn’t feed my puppy adult dog food, but what is the difference?” It is a very common question among a lot of puppy owners.
Let’s answer your question with just 2 differences for each.
|Puppy Food||Adult Dog Food|
|The size of food is usually tiny and crunchier. This type of food helps develop the jaw and strengthen those small little puppy teeth so that your pup can munch away!||The food size is usually chunky and less crunchy than puppy food. It helps adult dogs to eat easily.|
|According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), puppy food contains a minimum of 0.8% phosphorus, 1.2% calcium, 8.5% fat, and 22.5% protein. Calcium and protein will help your pup’s muscle and bone development, DHA will help with brain development, and fat will help your pup be active and energetic.||The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has also mentioned that adult dog food contains a minimum of 0.5% phosphorus, 0.5% calcium, 5.5% fat, and 18% protein only. You can see the difference in nutrient percentages in both. They are pretty different!|
Now that you know the differences, it’s easier to choose the right food. And it definitely should be the appropriate food for your lovely pup!
What Happens if a Puppy Eats Adult Dog Food
Your puppy will not get seriously ill.
It’s only dog food. But there can be some upset tummy now and then. It will get better, though.
But, don’t be relieved so soon. We haven’t told you what will happen if you still keep feeding your puppy adult dog food.
It is best if you think about your puppy’s future. You love them! You want them to live their best life, but you may just not be giving them what they need to have a healthy and happy life.
Puppy food has all the nutrition your puppy needs for good health, and you may be taking it away from them by not understanding their body needs. If you keep feeding adult dog food, your puppy could face:
- Calcium deficiency leads to bone damage and early tooth decay.
- Brain development issues decrease the longevity of your puppy’s life.
- Body development issues lead to a decrease in immunity power.
Get up now and buy new puppy food!
Oh! And don’t worry about the wastage of dog food. You can always donate it to shelters that need it.
How to Choose Puppy Food?
You listened to us! We knew you loved your puppy a lot.
You got up and went to the pet store to buy new puppy food. Now that you are in there, you feel more confident choosing puppy food. You avoid the adult dog food section and reach the puppy food side. But, you start feeling overwhelmed again seeing all the puppy food choices.
It’s ok to feel like this. We know it’s still a lot of options. So, before you go to the pet store to get puppy food, you may want to read the whole article and research it yourself.
Let us give you 5 essential tips on how to choose puppy food. Trust us, your puppy, and you will be delighted!
5 Tips for Choosing Puppy Food
Tip 1: Choose Brand Wisely
Brands that meet all the requirements according to AAFCO should be ideal. Usually, a slightly costlier brand uses high-quality ingredients and maintains the nutrition requirements.
Tip 2: Check the Nutrient Section
After choosing the brand, you want to ensure they have the proper nutrients for your little pup.
Tip 3: Check Label for Natural Ingredients
Labels that read: Chicken/Turkey/Beef meat, Potatoes, Salmon, Carrots, etc., should be your top priority. Remember to avoid labels like: Natural flavor, Gluten meal, Corn gluten meal, Animal by-products, Preserved fat with BHA/BHT, etc.
Tip 4: Be Mindful of Puppy Size
You have to be mindful of your puppy’s size because all of them are different. Try to find suitable food that mentions their breed or size.
Tip 5: Figure Out your Puppy’s Favorite Food
Every puppy has a favorite food. It would help to try finding out what it is. Your puppy will love eating then!
Secret Tip: It’s convenient to feed your puppy dry food because it stays fresh longer and contains significantly more protein. Yay for more nutrients!
How Much to Feed a Puppy?
Food should be given according to your puppy’s size. Your puppy’s breed type, body type, metabolism, and nutritional requirements should determine your puppy’s food quantity. You should consult a veterinarian to get proper advice on the portion of food.
We can suggest that you look at your puppy’s eating habits. If they are skipping meals or not finishing their portion, there’s nothing to be worried about. Maybe you have just given them too much. You can reduce the amount of food next time.
Moreover, when training with treats, try to avoid giving bigger or too many treats.
When to Switch to Adult Dog Food?
“How long should a puppy eat puppy food?” It is the second most common question that new puppy owners have.
As your puppy grows and moves from puppyhood to adulthood, you have to understand when to stop feeding puppy food because they will need different nutrition to stay healthy.
You need to understand that every breed doesn’t mature simultaneously. Their height, breed type, and size are significant factors when switching their puppy food to adult dog food.
Here are 3 guidelines to help you understand the switching process of different breeds:
- Smaller dog breeds weighing about 20 to 25 pounds are usually ready to switch at 6 to 10 months.
- Medium dog breeds weighing about 25 to 60 pounds are ready to switch at 12 to 15 months.
- Large or Giant dog breeds take a little more time. When they weigh over 75 pounds, they are ready to switch at 18 to 24 months.
In the End, You are Ready
As a new owner, puppyhood can seem to be a handful. Dealing with food is the first and most important step. You are prepared now as you have read through this article.
Always remember to feed your puppy the food specially created for puppies. It should be applied to dogs of any age. Provide them with food that suits their body type. It could be high or low in calories, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Just make sure it helps them grow and gain enough energy for the zoomies.
Lastly, do you know what it all leads to? A happy, healthy puppy!
You must write to us about your little fur balls. We are all ears!
To find more helpful articles like this, scroll through our website.
I am Dana McQueen, a Veterinary Doctor who studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. For years, I have got common questions from friends and family about their pets. So, I decided to open up this website and answer all those frequently asked questions. Alongside, here I share my expert knowledge about pet care, pet health and the animal environment.