Fresh and Raw Dog Food

When to Switch Puppy to Adult Food


No Comments

You’ve had your lovable pooch for a few months. Puppy food has been helping him/her grow healthy, but you’re wondering when to switch puppy to adult food.

When to Switch Puppy to Adult Food

There’s no set time to switch a dog from puppy food. Age, adult size, and how quickly a puppy grows to determine when to switch a puppy to adult food. 

Factors Influencing When to Switch Puppy to Adult Food

It’s a good idea to consider all factors influencing when is the best time to switch from puppy food to avoid health problems in the future.

  • Age
  • Adult Size (giant breed dogs (like Great Danes), large breed dogs, medium breed dogs, or small breeds)
  • Rapid Growth

when to switch puppy to adult food

Switching a Dog from Puppy Food According to Age

Dog experts believe puppies should switch to adult dog food when their bodies are ready for it. The age when to switch puppy to adult food depends on the individual puppy.

The American Kennel Club has identified this timeline for switching your dog from puppy food.

Puppies 6 to 12 Weeks

Puppies should be fed a diet specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs. Puppies should be fed at least four times a day.

Puppies 3 to 6 Months

Continue puppy food but reduce the number of feedings to three a day. By 12 weeks, puppies begin to lose their baby fat, but if they do not, this is a sign to continue to feed puppy food until the body matures.

Puppies 6 to 12 Months

Reduce feedings to twice a day. Spayed and neutered puppies should switch to adult maintenance dog food because the procedure lowers energy levels, resulting in needing fewer calories.

Large breed puppies may take longer to switch from puppy food to dog food – some may only be ready to switch at 14 months.

It’s always better to keep puppies on puppy food for longer than needed instead of switching too early.

Dogs 12+ Months

After one-year-old, most dogs should be on adult dog food.

When to Switch Puppy to Adult Food According to the Dog’s Breed

Since dogs achieve adult size at different times, it’s not always easy to determine when to switch a dog from puppy food according to age.


Small breeds tend to mature faster than large-breed dogs.

Consider the following breed information as you decide when the right time is for switching your dog from puppy food.

  • Small breed dogs 30 pounds or less mature around 10 to 12 months.
  • Toy breeds mature around seven to nine months old.
  • Dogs heavier than 30 pounds up to 80 pounds (medium breeds like Goldendoodles) usually mature around 12 to 16 months.
  • Large breeds (like german shepherds) mature between 12 to 14 months.
  • Giant breeds like Great Danes, which weigh over 80 pounds can take as long as two years to reach maturity.

Other Signs When to Switch Puppy to Adult Food

Considering the age and the dog’s breed when deciding to switch a dog from puppy food is a good idea, but there are other signs you can look for to determine the right time for adult food:

  • Pay attention to how much food your dog eats. If your dog is skipping meals or leaving food behind, it’s likely time to switch to adult food.
  • Take note of your puppy’s body. If it seems as though rapid growth has slowed or the puppy is putting on extra weight, that’s another sign a less-caloric adult food formula should be given.

Long Term Puppy Food Diets

Puppy food is high in calories and specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of their fast development. Once puppies achieve maturity, their metabolism slows down and they don’t need a diet that is as high in calories and as nutrient-rich. Continuing puppy food beyond maturity can result in obesity. Since obesity is one of the most common causes of many health problems for canines AND humans, puppies do need to switch to dog food when they are ready for the best overall health.


How to Switch a Puppy to Adult Food

when to switch dog from puppy food

A change in a puppy’s diet can lead to intestinal tract distress, causing stomach pain and diarrhea. To save your pup from enduring any discomfort, switch your dog to puppy food gradually. The following timeline should help your furbaby’s body get used to adult dog food at a rate in which it won’t aggravate the intestinal tract.

It should take four days to switch your dog from puppy food.

Day One: A quarter of the bowl should contain adult dog food and the rest of the bowl puppy food.

Day Two: Half the bowl should contain adult dog food and the other half puppy food.

Day Three: Fill three quarters of the bowl with adult dog food and a quarter of it with puppy food.

Day Four: Fill the entire bowl with adult dog food.

Alternative Method for Switching a Dog from Puppy Formula

The Two Bowls Method is another way to switch a dog from puppy food.

  • Place a second bowl with a small amount of new food next to your dog’s regular bowl with puppy food.
  • Allow your furry friend to nibble on the new food.
  • Each day, add more adult dog food to that bowl and reduce the amount of puppy food in the other bowl until you’re only giving your dog adult dog food.

The Two Bowls Method is much slower than the first method, but it can be more effective for some dogs.

How Much Food to Feed Adult Dogs

Each dog food formula is different, so it’s important to check the label on the packaging says Dan Carey, Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine (DVM) and Director of Technical Communications at IAMS. Weigh your dog each week after the switch from puppy food to see if there is any significant increase or decrease in weight. Adjust the amount provided depending on the weight fluctuations just for the first couple of weeks until you see the weight stabilize.

If you’re considering fresh dog food for your puppy, you may want to read these articles:

how much fresh raw food to feed a dog

How Much Raw Food to Feed a Dog

is fresh food better for dogs

Is Fresh Food Better for Dogs?

Choosing the Right Adult Dog Food for a Puppy

As you’re researching when to switch a puppy to adult food, start looking into different wet food and dry food available for your pup. There are many formulas to choose from and there are many brands.

  • Look for premium foods that are breed-specific. This is especially true if you have been feeding your puppy a small or large breed puppy food.
  • Stay with the same type of food for the adult diet, such as staying with either wet food or solid food to make the transition easier.
  • Look for premium foods made with high-quality ingredients. The American Feed Control Officials have guidelines to ensure proper nutrition in adult food, so look for wet food or solid food that indicates it meets or exceeds those guidelines.

Determining the best time to switch a puppy to adult food can be difficult, but don’t let it overwhelm you. If the above information has helped you, that’s great. If not, consider reaching out to your veterinarian for help.

You’re already a great dog parent for looking into this topic. Good Job! You’re on your way to having a happy healthy dog.

What will you feed your growing puppy? Fresh raw dog food may be an option for you and your pup.



Dog Ownership Guide – D.O.G. – launched in 2021 to meet the needs of dog owners and their dogs worldwide. Our website is a place to not only learn, shop, and entertain, but share as well. Leave a comment, contact us, or learn more about the founder.

Leave a Comment