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.
How to Switch Foods
Too much variety or switching foods too quickly can cause digestive upset. The best way to switch your dog’s food is to do it slowly. Transition your dog to his new food gradually over the course of seven to ten days. Each day, mix in a little more of his new food and less of his current food, until he’s only eating the new food. He may still experience minimal stomach upset, but over time his body should get used to the new food.
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.