When to Switch Dog Food

As your dog grows and changes, his nutritional needs change, too. How do you know when to switch your dog’s food? Let our canine nutrition experts help you decide when and how to make the switch.

Switching from a Puppy to Adult Formula

Is your puppy approaching adult size? It happens in the blink of an eye. While your puppy may look larger than he did a few months ago, he may still benefit from the specialized nutrition in puppy formulas, like DHA to help support vision and brain development. The best time to switch your puppy to an adult formula is when he stops growing. This depends on his breed size. Small breeds reach their full adult size around one year, and medium-size breeds between 12-14 months. If your puppy is a large breed, he may not stop growing until closer to his second birthday. Before you switch, ask your veterinarian if the time is right for your puppy to start eating an adult formula.

Switching to a Healthy Weight Formula

Like us, dogs’ metabolisms slow down as they age, which can lead to weight gain. Overweight or obese dogs are at a much higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. It’s very important to make sure your dog gets enough exercise and the right nutrition to maintain an ideal body condition. If your dog gains weight and you can no longer feel his ribs, see your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes and talk about switching to a weight control formula with fewer calories.

Switching from an Adult to Senior Formula

If your dog is seven years old or older, he may be in his senior years. Older dogs can benefit from senior formulas because they provide a unique blend of protein, fats, and other essential nutrients to help maintain lean muscle mass and a healthy immune system. Many senior formulas also contain glucosamine to help support healthy joints.

Transitioning Your Adopted Pet to a New Food

Adopting a new cat or dog means plenty of changes for both you and your pet. Many new pet parents will opt to feed their new addition something different from what they were eating at the shelter or foster home.  However, abruptly switching foods can upset your dog or cat’s digestive system, so it’s best to make this change slowly.

Although you’ll be anxious to see the difference your new food can make in your dog, please allow 7 – 10 days to ease the transition from his current food. Each day, simply feed a little less of the previous food and a little more of the new food until you’re feeding the new food exclusively.

Before making a change to your dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian and research your options. Giving your dog the right food to support his changing body is one of the most important things you can do to help ensure that he lives a long, healthy life.