How Long Can You Feed A Dog Puppy Food?

Dogs need specialized food in different stages in life. When you adopt a puppy, you have to take extra care to feed them right. They need the protein and increased nutrients found in puppy food for healthy growth. However, it is important you know when to stop feeding your dog puppy food, and switch him to adult food. There is an average age at which you make the switch. However, this is also dependent on the breed of the dog, and several other factors.

You should stop giving your dog puppy food once he reaches maturity

How Is Puppy Food Separate From Adult Food?

Puppy food is high in protein which is used by the puppy’s body for the formation of new cells. This is essential for growth. Puppies derive 22% of their calories from protein, while adults derive only 18% of their calories from protein. Puppy food also contains more fat than adult food, because puppies need more energy as they move around a lot. Puppies take 8.5% of their calories from fat, while adults take 5.5% of their calories from fats.

You should feed adult dogs food that has less protein and fat. This is because they don’t take their energy from protein or fat. This is where adult food comes into the picture. If you continue feeding adult dogs puppy food that is high in protein and fat, there can be repercussions to their health. Since the adults don’t use the protein and fat, they gather into their bodies and cause obesity. This can cause heart problems and strain on the other organs of the body.

Puppy food has extra protein that puppies use for growth

How Long Can You Feed A Dog Puppy Food?

You should consider a dog that is younger than 1 year, a puppy.  During this time, he must strictly be given puppy food only. A puppy gives up his mother’s milk and needs nutrient-dense food that can compensate for the nutrients in milk. However, as a dog grows, his activity decreases, and his need for energy is also reduced. Dogs are spayed or neutered after they are fully grown.  This also decreases the dog’s energy requirement.

Ideally, you should switch your puppy to adult food when he turns 14 months of age. However, it can be difficult to make the switch suddenly. You need to start weaning him off puppy food slowly. Normally, a dog is fed 3 times a day. We recommend you start removing puppy food from one of his 3 meals, and then further proceed to decrease puppy food in his diet until you stop giving it to him completely. The switch has to be slow so that your puppy can adjust to it.

A dog should be switched to adult food when he is 14 months old

Things to Consider When Switching Your Dog From Puppy Food to Adult Food


14 months is a good time to wean your dog for puppy food. This is when most dogs have reached their full growth, and thus a lot of protein and fat isn’t required. However, this isn’t a fixed age, and nobody can say when the puppy will stop growing. Some dogs grow to their full size as early as 9 months, while others may even take about 24 months to reach maturity. We recommend you talk to your vet before removing puppy food from your dog’s diet.

Dogs that have an average weight of about 30 pounds reach maturity when they are 11-12 months of age. Medium dog breeds, which weigh 80 pounds mature at about 16 months of age. If a dog breed weighs more than 80 pounds, they are called large dog breeds.  These dog breeds can take about 2 years to fully mature.

It is far better to give him puppy food longer than the required time, rather than removing him too early. You could cut a dog’s growth short if you cut off his protein, and fat supply too early. You’ll sign him up for a lifetime of problems.

Some dogs mature early while other dogs can take about 2 year to grow completely


You should give even an adult dog puppy food in some conditions.  A common example of this is lactation. If a dog is lactating, giving them puppy food is beneficial because it provides extra proteins and fat. When a dog is nursing, her body loses nutrients, and she starts to lose weight. Protein and fat-rich puppy food help prevent this.


A dog needs to be fed food that fits the requirement of his age. At different stages in life, the requirement of the dog’s body transitions continuously. You must switch the dog from puppy food to adult food when he reaches maturity. However, you must make the switch at the right time. Stopping puppy food too early might mean stunted growth. A dog will become obese if you feed him puppy food too long after he’s matured.  This will give birth to a plethora of other problems.

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