Feeding The Adult Dog
Dog Adulthood:
  • 8 months in toy or miniature breeds
  • 12 months in medium & large breeds
  • 14 to 18 months in giant breeds
Feeding Times:
2 times/day (one small meal & one large meal or 2 equally divided meals)

Do not continue to feed your adult dog puppy food, since this could promote obesity and other health problems.

What to feed

The choice of what to feed is obviously up to you, the pet parent. The choices available are canned food, semi-moist foods, dry foods and home cooked food. All three types are nutritionally the same and are complete rations by themselves. Canned foods are three-fourths water and thus cost more for the same amount of nutrients. Likewise, semi-moist foods require special processing and packaging, which add to the cost. Dry foods are the most cost-effective and require the least amount of storage space. Home cooked food should be made using the right nutritious ingredients.

Once the type of food has been decided, you should not change back and forth. Pick one type (or types) and one brand and stick with it. Changing from different types or brands of dog food can upset the dog's system and lead to vomiting or diarrhea.


How much to feed

An adult dog should be well muscled but not obese. A good rule of thumb is that you should not be able to see the dog's ribs, but you should be able to feel them under the skin by lightly running your hands along its sides. If you are unable to feel the ribs, or have to push in to feel them, the dog is overweight.

Many people feel that an overweight dog is a happy dog. This is not true! Obesity is extremely damaging to a dog and greatly reduces its life expectancy and quality of life. Obesity decreases immune function, stresses the heart and lungs, damages the joints and increases the risk for certain types of cancer. It is not kind to over feed a dog; it is cruel and unhealthy.


Changing diets

Sometimes it may be desirable or necessary to change the dog's diet, for example when making a switch from puppy food to adult food or when a particular food becomes unavailable. It is very important that the change to a new food be done gradually. Any abrupt change in food will lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

The change to the new food should take one to two weeks. Begin by adding a small amount of the new food to the original food. Gradually add more and more until you are feeding the new food exclusively.


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