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How & When To Switch Puppies To Adult Food

Sharing a home with a puppy is loads of fun and there’s nothing more enjoyable than watching them grow up which sadly happens all too quickly. One minute you have a bundle of fluff racing around the place and the next, there in front of you is a young and very energetic canine companion that can't wait to be taken out for another walk!

Knowing when it's time to swap their puppy food for another more adult type of dog food is important, but it's also essential the change be done very gradually to avoid them experiencing any sort of upset tummy. Done too quickly and you may find your young dog develops an uncomfortable digestive problem which could result in them having the runs and dehydrating.

Puppies start life out drinking their mother's milk and suckle mum for around 3 to 4 weeks. Her milk provides them with all their nutritional needs, but it also provides pups with important antibodies which they need to fight off any diseases and infections. However, as her puppies teeth develop and get sharper, mum will spend more time away from her litter which prompts them to start eating solid food. It's a bit of a messy stage in a pup's life as they discover food in their bowls and walk in it. This naturally means they tread their food all over the place and on each other to begin with!

Dietary Transitions Have to be Done Slowly

At around 8 weeks old, your puppy is ready to move onto more adult dog food, but as previously mentioned the transition has to be gradual and ideally changing their diet at any stage of their lives needs to be done over a 10 or so day period. At two months, puppies are still developing and their bones are continuing to form. They are building up their muscle tone and their immune systems need to get stronger too.

Puppies grow at an incredible rate which is around 20 times quicker than an older dog and because of this they need to be fed a correct diet that meets all their nutritional needs. When you check the labels of any puppy food make sure it doesn't contain too many by-products which offer very little in the way of nutritional value. With this said, the best dog food is made by the bigger and better known brands so sticking with these is the best option. Do not be tempted to buy cheaper and therefore lower quality dog food for your puppy because the chances are it just does not contain everything they need to develop properly.

Changing their food over gradually involves mixing existing food with the new type adding a quarter of the new to three quarters of the old and feeding this for a couple of days. After this you can mix half of the new with the old and feed to your puppy for a couple of days, gradually increasing the amount of new food you add to their old food until their diet only consists of new food. If at any point during this time your puppy develops a tummy upset, you have to feed them their old diet and see how things go.

What to Do if Puppy Develops a Tummy Upset

It could be the new food is just too rich for them to handle in which case you would need to rethink what you are going to mix in with their old food. You may need to discuss things with your vet and have them check puppy over to make sure nothing else is disturbing their digestive tract. You may find they have picked up a few worms along the way and the vet would recommend or prescribe a safe treatment to give them.

If the vet finds no health reason for the tummy upset, you may need to feed them less rich dog food for a while until things have settled back down again. Once puppy is fine, try mixing another sort of dog food with their existing food by adding just a little of it at a time. It doesn't matter how long it takes to replace their old food with new because the most important thing is to avoid any further tummy upsets.

Again, it's important that pups get enough protein in their diet, but it's also important to follow the manufacturer's feeding guidelines and not to put too much food in puppy's bowl which could be a reason why they had an upset stomach. Not only this, but you don't want to overfeed them because it could mean they put on too much weight which could lead to all sorts of other avoidable health issues later on in their lives.

Conclusion

It takes a bit of careful planning when you change your puppy's food over and you need to be careful you don't do things too fast which could end up with them developing an upset tummy. Puppies need to be fed a high protein diet that contains essential minerals and vitamins, but you don't want to feed them anything that's too rich either because this could give them a bad tummy too. If you have any concerns you need to discuss things with your vet who would be in the best position to advise you on how much and what you should be feeding your pet. They would also be able to do some tests to make sure puppy hasn't picked up any intestinal worms or developed any health issues.


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