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How Long Should A Dog Eat Puppy Food?

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It goes without saying that providing enough nutrition for puppies is very necessary for their strong growth during the early ages. But puppies will become adults one day, and thus, they cannot keep eating puppy foods forever. Instead, they really need a change in their diet when hitting the point of being adults. That’s why knowing the exact time to switch the puppy food to adult food is very important.

So, how long should a dog eat puppy food? Let find out in this article!

How Long Should You Feed Puppies Dog Food?

After nearly 8 months of breastfeeding from the mother, puppies can stop using mother’s milk as the only resource of food which no longer provides enough nutrition for them. Consequently, we give them food specially made for puppies in order to fulfill the lack of nutrients and vitamins for their body. However, puppies cannot eat puppy food for whole life. When reaching an exact age, a change in their diet is very necessary.

How long to feed puppy food depends much on the dogs’ weights and breeds:

  • Small-sized breeds: can stop eating puppy food after 8 months to a year
  • Medium-sized breeds: can stop eating puppy food after a year
  • Large-sized breeds: need up to 2 years before stopping puppy food completely

Usually, when a medium-breed puppy reaches 30 pounds in weight, he can definitely eat adult dog food. On the other hand, when a large-breed dog reaches about 80% of his full weight, you can stop feeding him puppy food.

Note that the larger your dog breeds are, the sooner they can eat adult dog food. But there are some cases that puppies grow so fast comparing to their age. If you’re in these situations, contact the vet to know when to feed your puppies adult dog food.

Should You Give Adult Dog Food to Puppies?

To have a clear answer to this question, you’ll first need to understand the difference between puppy food and adult food

Because of undergoing grow-up period, puppies need more nutrition than adult dogs, especially food being high in protein and calories to compensate for energy that they have spent on growing and playing. As a result, some dog food manufacturers have produced a special recipe called “growth and reproduction recipes” for puppies only.

In such kind of food, the level of protein, calcium and phosphorus are higher than adult dog food’s. Therefore, puppies can absorb enough protein and other essential nutrition for bone development and joint disease prevention. Having enough nutrition is the key for them to grow big and strong.

By contrast, the adult dog food doesn’t contain much protein as the puppy one. The “adult maintenance” recipe for adult dogs usually has less nutritional value than puppy food. Because adult dogs’ body has already grown enough, they need no extra nutrition as puppies. On the other hand, absorbing too much protein and other nutrients can cause some health problems to them, such as weight gain, obesity, etc.

So, should we give adult dog food to puppies? The answer is NO. In other words, because puppy food is specially designed for dogs’ young ages and small sizes, it is only suitable for puppies.

How to Switch to Adult Food?

When a puppy grows at the age of an adult, his diet needs to be changed to help him have a healthy life. But because dogs are very sensitive to sudden changes, you’ll need to do that gradually.

Here is our advice: Start by mixing puppy dog food and adult dog food. At the first day, mix 10% adult dog food with 90% puppy food. Keep this formula for the following 2-3 days, then raise the percentage of adult dog food to 20%. Repeat it on the next days until reaching 100% of adult dog food.

How to Choose the Right Food for Adult Dogs?

First and foremost, it is necessary for you to know which kind of favor your dogs love. Our recommendation is to pick one whose flavor is the same or similar to the previous puppy food. This stage is quite important because dogs may not eat if the food has an unfamiliar flavor.

Afterward, read the ingredients carefully and make sure you understand it. For one thing, adult dogs need less protein and other essential minerals than puppies, but they need more fiber. So, choosing a dog food product, which adds less protein, fewer calories but more fiber, should be the priority.


Now you know the answer to the question “How long should a dog eat puppy food?”. Everything depends much on your dog breed and its weight. Normally, when an average-sized dog reaches 30 pounds, they can switch to adult dog food. However, there’re some special cases that puppies can start eating adult food sooner or later, but obviously, you’ll need helpful advice from the vet at first.

Hopefully, this article can provide you valuable information. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them below. Thank you for reading!

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