In this article, I will answer a question mostly asked, When should you switch your doodle puppy to adult dog food? When your puppy enters into adult years, you may start to wonder about switching to adult dog food. This is a question that many Doodle owners have, and for a good reason. Changing too early could cause severe damage, and not switching soon enough can cause obesity. When will you know when your puppy is ready for a premium dog food? There isn’t a one size fits all answer for this. But we are going to answer all of your questions without being too confusing.
What The Vets Say
Most veterinarians will tell you a general age and size that you should wean from the puppy dog food.
- Small dogs under 20 pounds are ready to switch between 9-12 months
- 20-50 pound dogs can switch at 12-18 months
- And giant breeds should be changed around 18-24 months
These are general guidelines based on how fast dogs grow according to adult size comparisons. But, they aren’t complete. There are lots of other ways to know when your dog is ready. If you ever have questions about your dog’s specific situation, it is best to ask your trusted vet. They will be able to give you additional medical advice that we can’t provide on the internet.
Signs Your Puppy Is Ready
If your dog is within the age group mentioned above, there are a few signs to look for before switching. Just because your dog meets the age requirements, does not mean you should automatically switch.
Stops Eating/Skipping Meals
Puppy dog food is high in calories and vitamins needed for the fast metabolism of younger dogs. Adult dogs do not need a calorie-rich food, and you may notice your dog skipping meals because they are still full. You see, switching from puppy food to adult food is not just switching formulas. It is also decreasing the calories needed. A puppy typically eats three meals a day. Your adult dog will only eat two, so they most likely will skip the lunch meal. If you notice this and your Doodle is feeling well, it is time for the switch.
When They Calm Down
Your dog may also be ready for a formula change when they have started to calm down. Since adult dogs are not as active, they don’t need all the calories that puppies need. If you notice that your dog doesn’t seem to have the same energy they once had, it’s time for adult Doodle dog food. This also leads to our next point.
If your dog is not as active, and they continue to eat high-calorie food, you may notice a weight gain. Weight gain is a sure sign that your dog has passed the puberty age and is ready to start eating high-quality dog food. You may also want to throw in a few extra walks to help lose the pounds in the meantime.
The age for spaying and neutering also lines up with when to start feeding your puppy adult food. Spaying and neutering your pet is recommended when your dog has finished growing. It also lines up with when dogs naturally start to calm down. So this lines up well with when you could switch your dog’s food as well. We understand that fixing your pet may happen for different reasons before it is time to change the diet. And that’s ok! All you need to do is watch out for the other signs mentioned above.
Why You Shouldn’t Switch Too Early
You wouldn’t think it, but switching your puppy to adult dog food too early could cause irreversible damage.
Switching to adult food too early could cause major joint issues to most dogs. Larger breeds and ones already susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia are at even higher risk. All Doodles are prone to joint problems anyways, so switching early could cause even more damage. Joint damage is likely to happen because adult dog food does not have the proper nutrients for growing puppies. Puppy dog food is high in calcium and phosphorus that help support bone health.
Not Enough Calories
Puppies who don’t get enough calories will want to eat continually. They will always be hungry and become underweight. All adult dog food is lower calorie than their puppy counterparts. If you notice that your doodle is more hungry than before, you have likely switched their food too early.
Puppy food has critical amino acids that aide in brain development. People who switch their dogs too early will miss out on essential factors that lead to intelligence and memory. Unfortunately, you won’t notice these effects until it is too late. Doodles are brilliant, and it would be a shame if you miss out on how incredible their full potential could be.
If a puppy is put onto adult food too soon, stunted growth could be the outcome. Your Doodle won’t grow to their full size and likely show all the signs above too, and they will look skinny and smaller than most dogs their age. They will almost have a permanent puppy-like appearance to them from an improper diet.
Not Switching At All
Not switching your adult dog to an adult diet could be just as detrimental. Adult dogs can not handle the dense calories of puppy food. They will quickly become overweight, and all that entails. They will develop things like heart disease and diabetes. Your dog would not live the longest life possible and could suffer from vitamin overdose.
How To Make The Switch
If you believe that your dog fits all the criteria to switch to adult food, there is a simple way to do it. You want to make sure that you do this slowly as not to upset their stomachs.
First, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian before changing to adult food. During this exam, talk with your vet about why you think it’s time for a switch. Your vet will then do a physical to make sure that your Doodle is growing appropriately. If this checks out, then you can begin the process.
It’s best to change your puppy’s food over 1-2 weeks gradually. Doodles have sensitive stomachs, and some are prone to getting bloat. To reduce the risk of any adverse reactions, you will want to do this slowly.
On the first day, you will want to start with 75% of the puppy food and 25% adult food. You will want to do this for 3-4 days to make sure that your dog isn’t going to react to it. Be on the lookout for any allergic reactions, and make sure that your Doodle is eating the new food. If, after four days, they are still leaving all the new food behind, you may want to change flavors.
If, after 3-4 days, everything seems ok, then you can take the next step. Now you will add 50% puppy food and 50% adult. Still, be on the lookout for any new behaviors or signs of a reaction. You will want to continue with the 50/50 mixture for another 3-4 days. Some dogs may start to have an upset stomach at this time. If that is the case, reduce the new food added for a few more days. Some dogs just take a little longer to adjust, but if the upset stomach continues, speak with your vet.
Now that you have gotten through the 50/50 mixture, you can move on to the next step. Now you will want to add only 25% puppy food and 75% adult food. By this time, your dog should be accustomed to his new diet and flavor. You will want to continue with this for another 3-4 days just to be safe. And if all goes well, the final phase is 100% adult food.
What Premium Dog Food Is Best?
The most natural switch that your dog could make is to switch to an adult formula in the brand that they already eat. Brands typically use the same quality ingredients, and it’s easier on their stomachs. But, if your puppy wasn’t on a quality brand before, you may be looking to switch. There are so many brands out there, and your dog might not like them all. So you may need to experiment with flavors or brands.
Here are a few of the top brands for Doodle dogs to give you a few ideas. Of Course, there are many other great brands not included.
1Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed
Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed formula is excellent for giant Doodles. They help support joint health and provide some of the most wholesome ingredients. They have great reviews from dog owners and vets alike. Merrick is a top-quality food for your Doodle dog.
Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Original
Wellness Core is a premium dog food for every sized dog. They use quality ingredients that you can feel proud to feed your dog. They also have several flavors to choose from in case your dog doesn’t like the original.
Castor & Pollux Organix Small Breed Formula
And finally, for our little guys, we have chosen the Castor & Pollux brand Organix Small Breed formula. This brand is known for its high quality and love of animals. Castor & Pollux uses top quality ingredients for a lower price than leading competitors, and the small breed formula is just the right size for smaller mouths. Your dog will love the savory flavors.
No matter how old our dogs get, they will always be puppies in our eyes. We hope this article can assist you in making the right decisions for your beloved pet. And don’t forget to subscribe for more great information.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Doodle Board!!