What Should I feed My Adult Dog?Carol Doyle BSc. VN DVM
Carol Doyle, BSc VN DVM
Carol DoyIe is a small pet veterinarian in a practice in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and is the human companion to her cats, Nala and Donal, two horses - Indie and Bella, and her dog Phoebe.
As a guest blogger and advisor, Carol shares her professional advice with pet owners, answering many of the questions that she gets asked regularly in-clinic.
Choosing a Food for Your Adult Dog
As your dog moves from puppy to adult, her growth and development will stabilize, so her metabolism and dietary needs will change. The first step is recognizing when your puppy has reached adulthood, at which point a review of her diet will be essential as she graduates to an adult food.
When will my puppy be fully grown?
Typically, your dog will be considered fully grown and an adult at one year old, but some smaller breeds will reach full growth and development from as early as 8 months, while others will continue growing until as late as two years.
Once your pup reaches adulthood, moving to an adult dog food will provide controlled levels of In levels of phosphorus, sodium, protein and energy which are essential to ensure a balanced diet.
Things to Consider When Choosing your Adult Dog Food
In order to determine the unique nutritional needs for your adult dog, you should consider:
- How active your dog is – very active dogs will burn more energy and will require a food with a higher calorie count than less active dogs
- Breed size – larger breed dogs will require glucosamine and chondroitin to support bone strength while smaller breeds may prefer a food with smaller kibble.
- Neutering /spaying is recognized as being a factor in excessive weight gain
- If your dog has allergies, a sensitive tummy or skin, a hypoallergenic dog food may be needed
- Pregnant or nursing bitches will require additional nutrients to support her puppies’ growth and development
In many cases, the brand of puppy food you have been feeding may have an adult variety that you can introduce to your dog, but reviewing your dog’s diet once a year is recommended to ensure that her diet is still suitable to her needs.
How much food does a dog need?
Every dog food will come with a recommended feeding guide which has been developed to support your dog’s dietary requirements, and is typically calculated based on your dog’s weight. Monitoring your dog’s weight, and following the recommended feeding guide on your chosen dog food is the best way to ensure your best friend is getting all the food she needs.
Remember also that treats should be given as treats only, and should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Adjusting your portion size of your dog’s main meal to account for any treats given is essential to help prevent unwanted weight gain.
How often should your adult dog eat?
Most pet owners prefer feeding an adult dog twice a day, although a dog can eat just once daily. Giving two meals a day may make it easier for the dog to digest the food and helps control hunger. Setting a feeding routine is essential for your dog as irregular feeding times can lead to over-eating due to a fear of not being fed.
For more guidance on choosing your adult dog’s food, or if you want to review her diet, Petmania’s pet care advisors are available 7 days a week.
Weight & Body Condition
Monitoring your dog’s weight and body condition score will help you to know if a change in food or activity is required. I would recommend that you check your dog’s weight at least once every three months. By regularly monitoring your dog’s weight you can quickly identify if there is any cause for concern, and allow you to take early action to prevent weight related problems from developing.