52–55 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy
What to Expect at Your Puppy's First Yearly Physical Exam :: How to Determine if Your Puppy is Doing Well on Adult Food :: A Guide to Longer Walks and Short Hikes with Your Puppy :: How to Deal with Housetraining Accidents
How to Determine if Your Puppy is Doing Well on Adult Food
Is your puppy wolfing down his adult dog food or is he turning his nose up at it? Have you noticed either positive or negative effects from switching from puppy food? This change may seem simple but it can wreak havoc on everything from your puppy's stomach to your patience at dinnertime.
Your puppy's food is not working for him if he has developed any of the following: loose stool or diarrhea, constipation, coprophagia (stool eating), a grumbly tummy, skin rash or allergy, a rise in hyperactivity, a rise in aggression or any other personality change. There are so many dog foods available on the market that it can be overwhelming to decide when and how to make a change if it's necessary, but it's also a benefit.
Solutions for Possible Problems from Your Puppy's New Diet
Loose Stool or Diarrhea - Make sure your puppy's food does not have oils added to it. Also, consider a food that is used for food allergies. A great choice contains duck and sweet potato.
Constipation - Make sure your puppy's food does have oils added to it. Also, the food should have a high fiber content.
Coprophagia - There are many reasons for stool eating and diet is one. Poor nutrition can lead to this so up the grade of food if this is a problem.
Grumbly Tummy - This could be because of the food or it may be that you need to feed your puppy three times a day instead of two. If more frequent feeding does not help, try a food that is higher in carbohydrates.
Skin Allergy - This is usually caused by a food allergy if diet is indeed the culprit. Try a food made specifically for this such as the duck and sweet potato mix.
Hyperactivity - Puppies who become more hyper on a new food probably need a little more protein. Try a high protein food such as Blue but watch for weight gain.
Personality Changes - Dogs' moods are affected by diet just as ours are. Too much sugar or a food allergy can cause a sharp shift in a dog's aggression or irritability. Make sure there are no additives or preservatives in your puppy's food which can be a hidden cause.
How to Switch Between Different Dog Foods
If you're noticing some of the signs of a food disagreeing with your puppy, it is probably time to try a new one. Always introduce a new food slowly, switching about 1/4 cup of food over a week. Give him another week or two on the new food to see how he does on it before switching again. You can also give him breaks between food by feeding him cooked chicken and rice for a few days.
Good nutrition is essential to your puppy's health. Different puppies have different needs and it's through trial and error and recognizing health issues that you can choose the best food for him. Besides the lesser problems, poor or incomplete nutrition can be linked to more serious issues such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. So, make certain any food you choose meets the government nutrition requirements plus any supplements you might need.
Some of us may think that a change in food is only fair to our pups but once you find a food that fits, stick with it. Offer variety by adding small amounts of vegetables, chicken broth or a high quality canned food. Because even though change can be the spice of life, for puppies a steady and consistent diet means better health.
Advice from Other Dog Owners
Transitioning Your Puppy to Adult Dog Food
Most dogs, as long as they are gaining enough weight, can transition over to adult dog food when they turn 1 year old. It is easier on their digestive system to start mixing the adult food with their puppy food to get them used to it.
I transitioned my pup over about 7 - 10 days, then by the 10th day he was just eating the adult food. But I would check with your vet before changing his food-just to make sure.
~Rebecca H., owner of Labrador Retriever mix