Studies have shown that the nutritional needs of dogs change as they age. One way to ensure your dog has the best chance at health and well-being is to feed a complete and balanced diet. But how can you tell when to switch from puppy food to adult food, or when to start a senior diet?
There's no one-size-fits all solution for how much dog food to feed your pet. It depends on a number of different factors such as your dog's age and breed, weight concerns, and pregnancy in females. Below are general guidelines for feeding dog food at different life stages:
1. Puppy: 16 calories per pound of body weight per day (8-25% dietary protein)
2. Growing or Mature: 12 calories per pound of body weight per day (22% dietary protein)
3. Senior 7 calories per pound of body weight per day
Fluffy puppies are...
Ages 4-6 weeks to 9-24 months
Puppies should be fed puppy food until they are done growing. Some puppies grow faster than others and are considered mature at different ages. Small- and medium-sized puppies will reach maturity around 9 months of age; Large breed puppies can take longer. That means that large breed pups will need to be on a food specially formulated for their needs for longer than small or medium breed puppies.
Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs because they are growing. Puppies require more calories and more protein than adult dogs, but too many can be unhealthy. They need specific levels of calcium and phosphorus to support healthy bone development.
When it comes to your puppy's diet, balance is key. You don't want too many (or too few) nutrients. This is why puppy food is so important for your pup's development. Large breed puppies benefit from a specially formulated large breed puppy food like American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Large Breed Puppy Food that has balanced calcium-to-phosphorus ratios and correct levels of protein and calories. It's also very important that you not overfeed puppies--especially large breed dogs, since overfeeding can lead to joint disease in adults.
Feeding your new puppy is tricky, but a feeding guide on the back of their food bag can help you get started. The amount of food they need to eat will change when they grow, and during growth spurts their appetite will increase. As the puppy grows, it's important that you maintain a balanced diet for it so that it stays healthy but does not starve. You should be able to feel its ribs, but they should not be visible. If the ribs are sticking out, then you need to increase the amount fed by 10%.
If you want to know when it's time to stop feeding your puppy, we recommend talking with your veterinary care team. Your vet will have the best knowledge about how much food your pup should be getting.
The recommended age for this group is 1-6 years old.
Worried about when to switch your puppy to adult food? Here are two important things you should know: 1) always check with your vet about the best time for the switch, and 2) start transitioning once they're done growing, as long as they aren't overweight.
The best way to do this is to mix the two types of food together. One thing you could do is purchase a bag of adult food when you purchase the last bag of puppy food, then gradually increase the ratio of new food to old over about a week.
Wondering how to transition your pet to a new and better food? We've got the answers.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that an adult dog's diet consist of 18 percent protein, 5.5 percent fat and 50 percent carbohydrates with 2.5-4.5% fiber for a healthy gut.
Allowing your dog to have the nutrient-balanced diet they deserve can be difficult given all the options on the market today. Luckily, there are options available that meet AAFCO standards and will provide your dog with a healthy, balanced meal. One such option is Blue Buffalo's Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe. This recipe includes ingredients like peas, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and cranberries.
When feeding your dog, it's important to consider the size of your dog. If you have a large breed, it may be helpful to give them a food that has been formulated for larger dogs, such as Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food. This can help support joint health for your large dog.
The best way to tell if your dog is getting the nutrition they need from a food is to monitor their condition at the beginning and end of the food trial. Does their haircoat seem healthy? Are their energy levels high? What about their stool quality and quantity? If everything looks good, it's likely that this food is right for your pooch.
When it comes to how much to feed your dog, start by looking at the feeding recommendations on the back of the bag. You want your pup to have an ideal body condition score--not too heavy and not too thin.