When To Switch From Puppy To Adult Dog Food
When To Switch From Puppy To Adult Dog Food

When To Switch From Puppy To Adult Dog Food

  • Share

Picking the right food for your pup is key to ensuring its healthy growth. While both puppy food and adult dog food seem similar, they serve different nutritional purposes tailored to distinct life stages. Understanding this disparity is vital in guaranteeing the overall well-being of your beloved companion. 

Feed puppy food until maturity

Puppies are more than just mini versions of adult dogs. Their nutritional needs are unique and crucial for their growth spurt and cognitive development. Specifically designed with the perfect blend of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals, puppy food supports bone and muscle growth. With their endless energy, they need the extra calories that puppy food provides. Plus, the added dose of nutrients like calcium and phosphorus is essential for strong bone development. So, stick to puppy food until your furball hits full physical maturity, ensuring a strong and healthy foundation for their adult life.

When to switch puppy to adult food

When a puppy can eat adult dog food isn't a one-size-fits-all deal. It is a gradual process that demands attention to your dog's unique traits. Generally, it is wise to make the switch when your pooch is about 80-90% of its expected adult size. But remember, a sudden change can upset their tummy. 

To ease the shift, start by mixing small portions of adult food with their usual puppy fare. Over a week or two, increase the adult food ratio until your dog is entirely comfortable with the new diet. Don't forget to consult your vet to ensure a smooth transition and a lifelong, balanced diet for your four-legged friend.

When to switch from puppy to adult dog food for different breeds?

When figuring out when to transfer to adult dog food, the size of your growing dog plays a crucial role. Given below is a comprehensive guide:

  • Small-sized dogs: Small breeds should transition to adult dog food at around 9 to 12 months of age or when they reach 90% of their expected adult weight.
  • Medium-sized dogs: Medium-sized breeds should switch to adult dog food around 12 months of age when they are close to their full-grown size.
  • Large-sized dogs: Large breeds should transition to adult dog food at approximately 12 to 18 months of age due to their longer growth period.

At IAMS, we offer a range of adult dog food that are rich in nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals and more to provide your pooch with a complete and balanced meal. We have specialised recipes for each breed, targeting the specific nutritional needs of small, medium, and large sized dogs.

Why adult dog food is important

As your canine companion transitions from the puppy stage to adulthood, providing it with an appropriate diet becomes crucial for its long-term health and well-being. Adult dog food serves as a vital component in ensuring that your dog receives the necessary nutrients to maintain optimal health and vitality. Here are some key reasons why adult dog food is essential for your furry friend's overall wellness:

  • Tailored nutrition: Adult dog food is like a tailored suit, designed specifically for your dog's needs as it matures. Packed with the right blend of proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals, it fuels energy, maintains muscle strength, and keeps your dog bound with vitality.
  • Weight watch: Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is vital for their overall well-being. Adult dog food helps manage their calorie intake, ensuring they stay fit and agile. No more worrying about extra pounds leading to joint issues or other health complications.
  • Happy tummies: Adult dog food often includes easily digestible ingredients, making mealtime a treat for your dog’s tummy. Adding dietary fibres keeps digestion smooth sailing for dogs, preventing any unpleasant tummy troubles.
  • Wellness booster: Packed with antioxidants and omega fatty acids, adult dog food boosts dogs’ immune systems and keeps their skin healthy, and their coats shiny. It is like a daily dose of preventive care for a longer and happier life.

So, as your dog grows, make sure its diet grows as well. With the right adult dog food, tailored to its needs, you are laying the foundation for a life full of tail wags and playful barks.

How to transition from puppy to adult dog food?

Transitioning your furry friend from puppy to adult dog food is not just about changing what is in the bowl; it is a gradual adjustment that involves considering evolving nutritional needs, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and more. Here is a structured guide to help you ease your pup into their new diet over a 10-day period:

  1. Day 1-2:

Start by mixing 75% of the puppy food with 25% of the new adult dog food. This allows your pup to get accustomed to the new flavours and textures while maintaining some familiarity with the old food.

  1. Days 3-4:

Increase the proportion of adult dog food to 50% while decreasing the puppy food to 50%. This step continues the gradual transition, helping your dog's digestive system adapt to the new food without causing any sudden upsets.

  1. Days 5-7:

Continue the transition by serving 75% of the new adult dog food mixed with 25% of the remaining puppy food. This step allows their taste buds to fully adjust to the new diet while ensuring a smooth transition without any digestive disturbances.

  1. Days 8-10:

By this point, your pup should be ready to completely switch to adult dog food. Serve only the new adult dog food, ensuring that the portion size is appropriate for its age, size, and activity level. Maintain the recommended feeding schedule based on specific dietary needs.

Throughout the transition period, closely monitor your dog's eating habits, energy levels, and overall well-being. If you notice any digestive issues or reluctance to eat, slow down the process and give it more time to adjust. Providing plenty of fresh water and sticking to a consistent feeding schedule will help make the transition as smooth as possible for your beloved canine companion.

Remember, a smooth transition from puppy to adult dog food is all about taking it slow and steady. By gradually introducing the new food over a 10-day period, you give your pup's digestive system the time it needs to adjust without causing any discomfort. Keep a close eye on its response throughout the process, and do not hesitate to make adjustments if necessary. With patience and careful monitoring, you can ensure that your loyal companion makes a seamless shift to their new, adult-dog-friendly diet. 

Frequently asked questions about Puppy ready adult dog food

  1. Can my puppy eat adult dog food?
  2. Puppies should not eat adult dog food as it lacks essential nutrients for their growth. Choose puppy-specific food until adulthood.

  3. What should a 5-month-old puppy eat?
  4. A 5-month-old puppy should eat high-quality puppy food rich in protein and essential nutrients, promoting healthy growth and development.

  5. How long is a dog considered a puppy?
  6. Dogs are typically considered puppies from birth to one year, although this can vary based on breed size.

  7. What is the ideal adult dog food age?
  8. The right age to switch your pooch from puppy food to adult dog food can vary basis multiple factors. However, here’s how these furry beings are generally switched to adult dog food basis their breed size.

    Breed Size



    9 to 12 months old


    10 to 12 months old


    12 to 16 months old


    18 to 24 months old

  • Your Senior Dog’s Special Nutritional Needs
    Your Senior Dog’s Special Nutritional Needs

    Your Senior Dog’s Special Nutritional Needs

    • Share

    One of the most important things you can do is to feed your senior dog a diet formulated for his age featuring nutritional breakthroughs developed by the geriatric research team at The IAMS™ Company. As the years take their toll, a complete, well-balanced diet can help older dogs maintain health and ideal body weight, maximize their ability to stay healthy, and promote and maintain muscle tone and digestive health.



    How Old Is Old?

    To call a dog 'old,' one mustn't consider chronological age, but rather physiological condition. Aging begins when the body's systems start to slow down when cells deteriorate faster than the body can repair them. Though the process is different for every animal (large and giant breeds tend to age faster than smaller breeds), dogs are generally considered seniors beginning at around 7 years (5 years for large and giant breeds). If you feed your dog a diet designed to address the nutritional needs of his age, you can best maintain your dog's overall health and well-being. As your dog ages, detecting and addressing signs of wear and tear or disease early might help your dog adjust more readily to his condition.

    How your dog ages has much to do with genetics and environment, but nutrition plays an equally important role. The quality of the food and its ability to maintain and nourish your dog's cells can slow or delay the effects of aging and help promote a long, healthy life. As your dog ages and his systems become less efficient, he relies increasingly on the food you provide to make up for his body's shortfalls. According to Michael Hayek, PhD, a research nutritionist at The IAMS Company who specializes in geriatric nutrition, 'Aging dogs need the same nutrients as younger dogs; however, the quantity or the way the nutrients are provided may change.'

    Dr. Hayek advises not waiting until you see signs of aging in your dog to consider the proper diet. Feeding a high-quality, premium diet throughout your dog's life is the best way to help him age gracefully. When your dog reaches the golden years, choose IAMS for nutrition suited to this stage of life. 'Good nutrition starts early,' says Dr. Hayek. 'It should be viewed as proactive health care because it may be a deterrent to aging later on.'

    If your dog already exhibits signs of aging, look for a high-quality, balanced maintenance food that caters to his changing metabolism. When you're shopping for a formula that's right for your older dog, look for and compare these important features:

    High-quality animal protein. Just like us, as dogs grow older, they naturally tend to lose lean body mass (muscle). High-quality protein becomes increasingly significant by providing the essential amino acids your dog needs to minimize the loss of lean body tissue. By nature, dogs are carnivores, and they do best on high-quality, animal-based proteins from sources such as chicken or lamb. Some people believe that aging dogs should be fed less protein to prevent or minimize kidney disease. However, the evidence is just not there. Reduced protein has a significant effect only after a certain level of renal dysfunction occurs. Signs of renal dysfunction include an increase in water consumption and increased urination. If you're concerned about your dog's renal health, your veterinarian can run tests to assess the level of renal function and recommend appropriate treatments if they are needed.

    'If your dog is generally in a state of good health,' explains Dr. Hayek, 'protein should not be restricted. Rather, it should be available for building those all-important muscle reserves.' Some studies have shown that a diet of high-quality protein might actually help improve kidney function, and no research has indicated that low-protein diets slow the progression of renal damage in dogs.

    Lower fat. Less-active, older dogs need fewer calories. Look for a food that's low in fat compared to our other adult formulas, but don't eliminate fat completely or feed a food that doesn't have enough fat. Pick a formula with at least 10% fat. Older dogs still need essential fatty acids. The inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids helps a senior dog maintain a proper fatty-acid balance as the body's fatty-acid synthesis naturally decreases.

    Moderately fermentable fiber. The goal of fiber is to help maintain optimal intestinal health. 'You want to aim for consistent stools,' explains Dr. Hayek. The goal is to promote digestibility and the ability to process food and absorb nutrients. At the same time, fiber levels should promote and maintain a healthy intestinal tract, which often can be problematic for older dogs. A fiber level of no more than 5% is appropriate for seniors to maintain an optimal intestinal environment for a healthy gut, which helps result in excellent nutrient absorption and small, firm stools. IAMS includes dried beet pulp, a patented fiber source, in all of its foods to make elimination easier and regular. According to Dr. Hayek, if you've been feeding your dog properly all along, fiber requirements shouldn't change.

    Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are a unique fiber source. FOS is a moderately fermentable fiber which can help maintain a healthy intestinal environment.

    Antioxidants. These help maintain balance within the body by ridding it of harmful compounds called free radicals, which increase as a dog ages. Antioxidants fend off free radicals and help protect cell membranes and DNA. To maintain your older dog's immune-system response, feed a formula with important antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E and beta-carotene.

    Vitamins and minerals. A high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food should include all of the essential nutrients in the proper proportions. Some say that vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary as a dog's systems age. The fact is that, unless your veterinarian specifically identifies a deficiency, vitamin and mineral supplements are unnecessary and, in some cases, might do more harm than good by creating an unhealthy imbalance.



    The Golden Years

    Balanced feeding is vital as a dog ages, but it's just as essential throughout his life. The longer and more consistently you feed him a healthy diet for his life stage, such as IAMS ProActive Health™ Senior Plus, the greater his chances of living a long, healthy life. As your dog reaches the senior years for his breed or size, remember these tips:

    • Minimize stress and change. Avoid big moves or changes in your dog's schedule. If you must disturb a routine, give him some added attention to ease the adjustment.
    • Provide regular exercise. Two 15-minute walks each day will help maintain muscle tone, enhance circulation, promote digestion, and prevent weight gain.
    • Feed smaller, more frequent meals. Instead of one large portion a day, try two or three smaller meals, which will also help increase your dog's metabolism, burn calories, and provide all of the needed nourishment.
    • Schedule routine veterinary checkups and immunizations. Regular dental care and thorough physicals will help you identify subtle changes in your dog's health. At home, take a few minutes each month to closely examine your dog for odd-shaped bumps or lumps. If you discover something unusual on the body, and it seems to be growing rapidly, call your veterinarian. Early detection and preventive treatment can go a long way toward extending life expectancy.
    • Buy palatable, high-quality premium pet food. As your dog ages, he might become less interested in eating. Offer palatable, nutrient-dense food to encourage productive, efficient digestion and to maintain essential bodily functions.

    Finally, Dr. Hayek points out that there's still much to learn about canine geriatric nutrition. For now, realize that every animal ages at a different rate and in different ways. Monitor your dog and especially watch for changes after 7 years of age (5 years for large and giant breeds). With the help of your veterinarian and responsible pet food manufacturers, your pet can live to a comfortable, healthy old age.