Your puppy’s nutritional needs will change as he grows into adulthood, but how do you know when your puppy is ready for adult food?
Depending on his breed size, at some point between 12 and 24 months of age, you should reexamine your puppy's nutritional needs and choose the right adult formula. His adult food could depend upon his metabolism (Does he gain weight easily?) and his activity level (Is it low, normal, or high?) These factors can help you find the ideal food for your dog.
The transition to a premium adult formula should begin when your dog approaches adult height and weight. The kind of dog you have will determine the right time to switch. When you do switch to adult formula, follow the same four-day process as you did when introducing your puppy to premium puppy food.
Small-breed dogs tend to mature physically much sooner than large-breed dogs. Follow these guidelines to help you decide when to switch formulas:
- Small-breed dogs (20 pounds or less when fully grown) are usually ready to transition to an adult formula when they are 9 to 12 months of age.
- Medium-breed dogs (between 20 and 50 pounds when fully grown) normally mature at around 12 to 14 months of age.
- Large-breed dogs (more than 50 pounds when fully grown) might not be ready to switch to an adult food until they are between 12 and 24 months old.
Why Switch to an Adult Formula?
As your new puppy quickly matures into adulthood, he needs nutrition appropriate for his "new" body. That means a high-quality, premium adult formula. Most veterinarians agree that feeding a complete and balanced premium food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks, throughout your dog's adulthood can promote a long and healthy life.
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Does your mature dog sniff at his bowl and walk away instead of digging in? You may think he’s just being picky, but it’s important to keep an eye on how much he’s eating — especially if he’s a senior. While age-related diminishment of the senses of smell and taste may account for some of his disinterest in food, appetite loss can also indicate a serious medical problem.
“It’s important to give your dog enough calories because weight loss can be debilitating to senior pets,” says Wendy Brooks, D.V.M., who warns that a loss in appetite should be mentioned to your vet. A good rule of thumb: If your pet hasn’t eaten in a day, make a visit to the vet. Here are six ways to entice your canine friend with a nourishing meal.
6 Ways to Encourage Your Senior Dog to Eat More
1. Mix Dry Food with Moist Food
Many animals find canned food more palatable because they like the taste and texture, Brooks says. You can top their favorite dry food with room-temperature wet food.
2. Warm It Up
Dogs like a warm or room-temperature (not hot or cold) meal. Avoid serving him day-old wet food from the refrigerator, and keep his food away from heat. Another reason he might not be eating: It's too hot outside.
3. Try a Change
Dogs prefer consistency when it comes to their food. Don't change every day, but try a new flavor, such as lamb or chicken, and see if he responds (it may trigger his sense of smell). To avoid an upset stomach, introduce a new food by mixing it with his old food in equal increments each day.
4. Stay Close
Common mature-dog health issues, such as arthritis or joint pain, can make it difficult for him to access his bowls. Keep food and water where he spends most of his time. Put a water bowl on all floors of the house, too.
5. Keep the Fresh Water Flowing
Older pets are at a higher risk of dehydration. Provide a clean bowl with fresh water at all times. It will help prevent disease, such as a kidney condition, and aid in digestion.
6. Offer Praise
Dogs are people pleasers. If you see him eating, give him a little verbal reward. He'll know it makes you happy and will repeat the behavior.
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