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How Long Do Dogs Eat Puppy Food?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Puppy food is important for meeting a puppy's high-energy demands and providing extra nutrients.
  • Puppies typically eat puppy food until they are around 1 year old.
  • Weaning from soaked food should be a gradual process to prevent stomach upset.
  • Puppies usually don't need milk after 8 weeks, but some may require it until around 6-10 weeks of age.
  • Consultation with a vet is important for determining when to switch from puppy food and what type of milk replacer to give if needed.
Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Wednesday 28 November 2018
Last updated on
Monday 10 July 2023
puppies eating puppy food
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Dogs typically continue to eat puppy food until they are around one year of age. This is based on the natural weaning stage when puppies are transitioning from their mother’s milk to solid food, which usually takes 4 to 7 weeks. After this stage, they begin to transition to adult food, which occurs around the one-year mark.

As a general rule, dogs under one year old are considered puppies and should be fed food specifically formulated for puppies. However, there can be some variations depending on the breed, such as toy breeds being considered adults at nine months and larger breeds remaining puppies until they are two years old. Puppies have high-energy demands and require foods that meet their growth and development needs.

As your puppy grows into an adult dog, you should adjust their diet gradually to match their changing nutritional requirements

When to Only Feed Puppy Food?

During the first year of a puppy’s life, it is essential to feed them a specialized diet called “puppy food.” Puppy food is specifically designed to meet a puppy’s nutritional requirements. Puppy food typically comes in dry kibble form but can be soaked or mashed to make it easier for the puppy to eat.

Larger breeds of puppies can start eating dry food around 9-10 weeks, while smaller breeds can start at 12-13 weeks. Between 3 to 6 months of age, feedings can decrease to three times a day, and by 6 to 12 months, feeding can be twice a day. It is also recommended to switch from nutrient-rich puppy food to adult maintenance food during this time.

Smaller breeds can begin this transition at about 7 to 9 months, while larger breeds should wait until 12, 13, or even 14 months. Once a puppy reaches one year old, most dog owners switch to adult food and portions. However, it is crucial not to rush this process, as it’s better to keep puppies on puppy food a little longer than not long enough.

when do dogs stop feeding their puppies
When Do Dogs Stop Feeding Their Puppies? Read our related article!

What Is Puppy Food Made Of?

The transition from puppy food to adult food is a significant milestone in your dog’s life. It’s a time of considerable growth and development, which sets your pup up for a healthy and happy adulthood. When should you switch to adult dog food? Let’s dive in!

To sustain a puppy’s rapid growth, puppy food usually contains higher protein levels than adult dog food. Calories also play a crucial role during this stage, as your puppy will generally eat a lot more. Most puppies continue growing throughout their first year of life, but the exact duration of puppy food feeding depends on the breed of your furry friend.

Puppy food provides all the extra calories and nutrients that young dogs need until they reach at least one year of age. Your veterinarian can guide you on when to switch from puppy food, depending on your dog’s breed and age. It’s crucial to pay attention to your pup’s nutritional needs during this transition period to ensure they grow into a healthy and happy adult

When to Stop Soaking Puppy Food?

The question of when to switch from puppy food to adult food is related to when to stop soaking puppy food. During the initial 2 months of your puppy’s life, it’s recommended to feed them gruel or mush. After this period, you should gradually switch from soaked food to dry puppy food.

Different breeds of puppies reach full growth at different ages, but they still require high-protein dog food to complete their growth, even if they look like fully-grown dogs on the outside.

When switching your puppy’s food, whether it’s from soaked to dry or from one brand to another, it’s important to do it gradually to avoid upsetting their sensitive stomachs. Mix a little bit of the new food with the old food and slowly increase the amount of new food over the course of 10 days.

When switching from soaked food to dry food, your puppy may need more water and time to adjust to the new texture. Don’t worry if the portion of dry food looks smaller than the same portion of soaked food, as dry food is more energy-dense and provides the same amount of required calories.

In summary, it’s important to be mindful of your puppy’s nutritional needs and to make dietary changes gradually to avoid digestive issues

when to stop giving gruel and feeding puppy food
Puppy gruel is given to puppies during the weaning period. Then, dry puppy food is given until the puppy becomes an adult.

Do Puppies Still Need Milk After 8 Weeks?

Puppies generally stop taking milk a few days before 8 weeks of age. However, depending on your puppy’s breed and health, they might need some amount of milk until about 6 to 10 weeks of age. During the weaning period, the best milk for your puppy is their mother’s milk, if available. When transitioning from nursing milk to commercial puppy milk and then no milk, it should be done gradually and with careful consideration.

Do not give your puppy cow’s milk, as most breeds of puppies are lactose intolerant. Cow’s milk does not contain the required levels of phosphorus and calcium for your puppy’s nutritional needs. It is also diluted, which can cause diarrhea and dehydration.

Commercially-available puppy milk replacer formulas are a good option for your puppy. These formulas can be found in liquid form or as a powder that needs to be reconstituted. Consult your vet for the precise brand of formula to be given, depending on your puppy’s age, breed, and overall health.

To prepare the milk replacer, boil water and let it cool to about 150-degrees Fahrenheit. Then, add the powder and blend it into the water inside a swirling bottle. Shake the bottle up and down for proper blending. The formula should cool down to 98-degrees Fahrenheit before giving it to your puppy.

When stopping milk, make sure to do it gradually so that your puppy can get used to the transition. Consult with your vet regarding any changes to your puppy’s diet, including milk and wet food, as every puppy’s health and nutritional requirements are different

When stopping milk, make sure to do it gradually so that your puppy can get used to the transition. Consult with your vet regarding any changes to your puppy’s diet, including milk and wet food, as every puppy’s health and nutritional requirements are different.

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