Trying to figure out when the right time is to transition your German Shorthaired Puppy from puppy food to adult breed formula food? Well, here are the considerations to account for and what to think about before making the switch.
Knowing when it’s time to swap your puppy’s food over to adult food is one of the most asked questions in all puppy circles. It’s a difficult thing to figure out, too. I know I had problems with it when I first started with my own puppy.
I just got so used to feeding them their own puppy food that I forgot to consider transitioning them. I had to look into it myself before I was definitely sure I knew the answer.
Luckily, I’m here to help you this time! Hopefully, you won’t wait as long as I did to figure it out (though it won’t be detrimental to your growing puppy even if you’ve left it a little too late).
Every dog is different in this regard, but I’m focusing my attention on German Shorthaired Pointers and when it becomes time to switch them to the big stuff!
The Early Stages
Just like any dog breed, GSPs require different levels of food intake depending on their age. As the weeks go by, their appetites will often increase, meaning you’ll need to make sure you know when to transition them into larger meals (and eventually, you should drop their quantities back but give them adult food instead).
To start with, at the 2-week mark, puppies still feed off their mothers, so that’s not too important to look at. However, when you get to the 4-week mark, that’s when you start considering weaning them off their mother’s milk.
It isn’t until 6 weeks, though, that you truly start giving puppy food to your growing GSP pup. You only start with about a quarter of a cup a day, but that’s more than enough for their little selves!
You’ll probably start to notice the theme now. Every two weeks, the food intake changes somehow. At 8 weeks, there should be no more reliance on the mother’s milk at all.
Most breeders offer dogs out when they reach the 8-week mark, so if they’re still relying on their mother’s milk, they’re not going to have a great time in a stranger’s house.
Food Stages After 8 Weeks
Now we’re at 10 weeks, and this is where the puppy food really starts to matter. By this time, you should be feeding your GSP pup about 1/2 a cup at each meal, three times a day.
They’re going to start growing quickly, so you’re going to want to keep up! Come to the 12-week mark; you’re really going to see those snap-of-the-finger-like changes in your puppy’s weight and size. One night you’ll go to bed with a little adorable pup; the next morning, you’ll wake up to a fully grown dog (or something like that).
After this point, you should have a good idea of how much food your GSP requires as it grows. Generally, you’re going to want to keep it to about 3 or 4 meals a day (3 makes the most sense since you can do breakfast, lunch, and dinner to match your own).
As they get larger, they will be burning more calories while exercising, so meals will need to be bigger to compensate.
Then it comes time to start thinking about when to get them off puppy food entirely. When do you actually start feeding puppy adult food? Or, to ask the question better, when does a puppy become an adult?
Here is what the American Kennel Association says about a healthy GSP weight.
When To Transition From Puppy Formula
Between ages 9months to 12 months, you should transition your GSP pup to adult formula foods.
Some dogs can seem to mature faster than others, and it depends entirely on you and how you’ve been feeding them.
Most dogs start reaching full maturity at the 1-year mark, so a dog starts to think about weaning them off their puppy formula. Remember, by this point, you would have been increasing their intake weekly and should be at a point now where you’ve slowed down on their intake.
Now it’s time to start thinking about switching them over to adult food. However, it’s not just a simple switch you can do overnight. You’re going to want to be tactful about it to make it as easy for your GSP as possible.
You should spend about two or three weeks gradually switching out part of their food. In the first week, their cups should be more full of puppy formula than adult food, but they should have more adult food than puppy formula come the third week.
If you’ve got it right, on the fourth week after their first birthday, your dog should be more than happy to chomp away at their new diet of adult dog food.
You won’t even remember a time when you had to search for the answer to the question so early on in your dog’s life! I know I said all dogs are different, and the real answer can vary, but if you follow the steps above, you should be good regardless of your dog’s needs.
The only thing you don’t want to do is to leave your dog on puppy formula for too long. It’s only designed to help smaller dogs grow, after all. Come the time when they’re fully grown, the puppy formula is no longer good for them.
There’s a reason adult food is needed for dogs as it gives them all the nutritional goodness they need to stay fit and healthy throughout their adult life. Please don’t keep them on puppy food forever (though I’m sure you wouldn’t want to)!
I’m sure you knew most of this already, but it’s always good to clarify if you’re having any doubts or questions about it! I’m glad you came here to find out the truth! It’s too easy to forget the basics of training and feeding a growing dog.
They’re just as hard as babies (if not harder!) Just make sure you listen to the 1-year advice. That’s about when your dog should start to look at being an adult and start on the heavier food.
Their portions will need to be smaller, though. They no longer require three to four cup-fulls a day! If you notice them putting on a lot of weight, chances are you’re overfeeding them, but that’s a whole different issue to cover!