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If your puppy is approaching his peak adult height and weight, you may be wondering when to switch to adult dog food. It can be hard to determine when your dog hits adulthood by looks alone. In fact, some large breed puppies may look full size even though they’re still growing!

While looks can be deceiving, it’s important to feed your dog a formula that’s designed for his current life stage. As dogs age, their nutritional needs change along with their bodies. Puppies, for example, require more protein than adults to support their growing bodies, and they need DHA for brain and vision development. To help you determine when your puppy is ready for adult dog food, you need to consider both his age and breed size.                                                                                                                

Breed Size

Larger dogs don’t stop growing until they are a little older. How big will your puppy be at maturity? The size of your puppy’s breed will provide you with a good guideline for when he will reach maturity and can be transitioned to an adult dog food:

  • Toy breeds - 9 months
  • Small breed - 10 months
  • Medium breed - 12 months
  • Large/giant breeds - 2 years

As you can see, if you have a toy or small breed puppy, you will generally be switching to adult dog earlier than if you have a large or giant breed puppy. If you’re uncertain how much your dog will weigh at maturity or when to feed adult dog food, ask your veterinarian. He or she can help you determine when your puppy will reach adulthood.

The next step will be choosing an adult dog food formula. If your dog is happy and thriving on his puppy formula, check to see if that brand offers a similar adult formula. Also, make sure that the formula you purchase offers 100% complete and balanced nutrition and high-quality ingredients. Purina® Pro Plan® SAVOR®, for example, offers outstanding nutrition in multiple, delicious flavor options for adult dogs. 

When it’s time to make the switch, it’s best to do it slowly. To help avoid dietary upset, transition your dog to his new food gradually over the course of about seven to 10 days. Each day give him a little more of the new adult formula and a little less of the puppy formula. Follow the feeding guidelines on the bag to determine how much to feed him – but also remember that these feeding guidelines are a rule of thumb. Pay close attention to your dog, to make sure you’re feeding to ideal body condition. You can also use the Purina® Body Condition System chart as a visual reference, to help you make sure your dog is maintaining a healthy weight.

Feeding your young dog high quality, specialized nutrition helps lay the foundation for a healthy life. Keep up the great work!