When is it Time to Change Your Dog's Food?

Holistic Nutrition |

When you bring home a new dog, there’s a lot of excitement...and fur. There’s also some learning to be done!

Just like all of us, the nutritional needs of pets change throughout their lives. We don’t eat the same food throughout our lives and neither should our pets. When you first bring home a puppy and get them settled into your home, you’ll find them growing quickly during their first year. The important piece of the puzzle for the puppy parents is what happens next.

As your pup starts to show signs of adulthood, their bodies no longer require the same caloric intake and nutrient levels as they required as a pup. This is a great time to take a deeper look into why and when it is important to transition your pup to an adult-specific recipe.

Puppies should be on a high quality, natural and holistic recipe that is packed with nutritious ingredients for their overall well-being. They should stay on a puppy recipe while they are still young and growing. Recipes that are made specifically for puppies often have the calories, vitamins and protein needed for this life stage. Furthermore, recipes specific to your puppy’s size, for example a large breed puppy recipe, will have the perfect balance of nutrients for your puppy’s unique needs.

Once your pup has reached adulthood, you can begin the transition to an adult dog food. Determining the age that your dog should transition to an adult-specific food is largely dependent upon the size of their breed. This is due to the fact that it takes longer for large breed puppies to grow to their full adult size. As a general rule, small to medium size dogs are considered adults at 12 months of age. For larger breeds, they are considered adults once they are 18 months of age. One your dog reaches adulthood then it’s time to transition them to a new recipe that will better suit them in this stage of their life.

Nutritional needs may also change throughout your dog’s life. You may live with a performance or active dog. If you find that you and your dog enjoy participating in canine sporting events or visit hiking trails on a regular basis, your dog may require a higher caloric intake to support their active lifestyle. Their diet is of the utmost importance and must be well thought out.

Sometimes dogs have special wellness needs, whether that’s a sensitive stomach, weight control, or other special requirements. Finding the right food for your pet will help soothe these concerns and let your dog live a happier and healthier life. Combinations of salmon oil and flaxseed, or turkey and chamomile are just a few key ingredients that can make a real difference to the quality of your pet’s life.

Of course, as much as we don’t like to acknowledge it, dogs also mature into seniors much faster than we’d like. Taking care of their wellbeing through a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition is important at every life stage, but especially as they enter their mature years. As our pets age, their energy can decrease and their metabolism slows down. This usually takes place at about 7 to 8 years of age, depending on the breed.  Again, a switch to a senior-specific recipe will be needed to incorporate a few less calories which will help with weight maintenance. Look for senior recipes that also provide immunity and mobility support, which is imperative to an elder dog’s health.

At every life stage, it is important to switch their diets slowly, typically over a span of 10 days and watched closely for 30 days to make sure your dog is settled with their new diet. Start by adding the new recipe slowly, then half and half, to eventually phase out the old recipe. To help you determine the proper ratios for your pet, we’ll create a specialized diet plan for them over here.

By taking the time to slowly transition into a diet that is superior for their health at every life stage, you have done the absolute best for your pet and they will thank you for that.

Learn more about your pet's health and transitioning your pet's food: