« Back to Puppies

48–51 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

A Checklist for Traveling with Your Puppy by Car :: How to Begin to Switch Your Puppy to Adult Dog Food :: Tips for Preventing the Return of Your Puppy's Bad Childhood Habits :: How to Stop Dermatitis Before It Spreads

How to Begin to Switch Your Puppy to Adult Dog Food

Your puppy is starting to slow in the growth department but is he already outgrowing his food? Puppy food is fine until about 52 weeks but then he needs to start on adult dog food. Adult dog food is packed more densely with nutrients and vitamins than puppy food, partly because an adult dog eats less calories than a pup. The vitamins and minerals in adult food are also different than they are in puppy food.

It is best to slowly introduce adult food to your puppy so that by 52 weeks he can be completely converted over. If you don't switch your dog from puppy food to adult food at this time, there may be some consequences. For example, your puppy's metabolism is slowing down and the extra calories in puppy food add up quickly.

The easiest way to switch over is to substitute 1/4 cup of adult food for puppy food, adding 1/4 more substitution every few days. If you notice any stomach upset, cut back on the adult food immediately and do the substitution even more slowly.

Feeding a Puppy Under 52 Weeks Old VS. Feeding a Puppy Over 52 Weeks Old

  • Supplements - Supplementing your young puppy's diet with vitamins and minerals can cause health problems but once they are 52 weeks old, they can handle any supplements an adult dog food might have.

  • Timing - As puppies get older, they can be put on the twice-a-day diet, as opposed to their former three times a day. If your puppy has any stomach problems, however, you should go back to three times a day for awhile.

  • Calories - Be sure to read the recommended daily amount for the new adult food. Likely, it will be less than you were serving your puppy before. Also, check with your vet for optimal rationing.

  • Protein - Again, check with your vet, but it's most likely that an adult food will be lower in protein than the puppy food you have been using.

There are many factors that affect what and how much of a food a puppy should eat. These include size, breed, health and sex. One rule across the board for dogs that obesity should be avoided. So, if with the switch you notice weight gain, you may need to try a different food or different amount. If your puppy doesn't find the new adult food appetizing, add a small amount of canned food, chicken broth or fat-free turkey. Be sure to praise your puppy when he eats this new stuff and, if all else fails, pretend to dive into it yourself to show how yummy adult dog food can be.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

My Finicky Dog

I'm switching my dog from puppy formula to adult formula and she's very finicky so I tried the scrambled egg with about 1/4 of the adult formula it worked! Thank you!

~Susie A., owner of a Lhasa Apso


Just Add Water

Usually just adding a little warm water to the pellets will make the food more appetizing. I give my dog salmon jerky treats, so if adding water still won't work I shave a tiny bit of a treat with a microplane grater and sprinkle it on top. Then he will be all over it.

~Claudia S., owner of a Chihuahua

Add Your Own Advice 


Comment headline
Your comment
Submitted by
Owner of