How long should I feed my dog puppy food?


Our experts explain why your dog should move onto adult food once they have outgrown the puppy stage...

(Q) My friend just bought a Pug puppy. The breeder gave her some of the puppy food she'd been feeding the pups, and said this should be fed for the dog's whole life. This was apparently because the kibble was smaller and therefore easier for Pugs to eat. Is this good advice? I can't imagine it's good for any dog to be on a puppy diet forever.

(A) Vet John Burns says: Whether a puppy food is suitable for adults depends on the formulation. Most puppy foods have much higher levels of fat and protein than adult foods and this would make them unsuitable as long-term adult foods.

At Burns we make a Puppy Mini food, in which the levels of fat and protein are very close to our adult foods. This, plus the small pellet size, means that it is suitable for adult small breeds.

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(A) Vet Roberta Baxter says: Puppy food is generally higher in protein, fat, and minerals to meet the needs of a growing pup. I would advise feeding this food to puppies, but as pups mature (around one year of age for small breeds) they benefit from changing gradually on to an adult dog food which better meets their adult needs.

Otherwise they can have a tendency to gain weight, which is particularly undesirable in breeds like Pugs where breathing problems can occur and be worsened by being overweight. A range of adult foods are available, some of which come in small bite kibble for small dogs.