How and when to transition your puppy to adult food

How and when to transition your puppy to adult food

Puppies grow and develop so quickly throughout the first phase of their life that they require specially-formulated, nutrient-rich food that contains plenty of protein and calories

Harringtons Puppy Complete is a complete pet food that can be fed to puppies from 3 weeks onwards. It’s been carefully formulated to provide wholesome nutrition for growing puppies and contains no artificial colours or flavours, no dairy, no soya and no added wheat. As well as being super tasty, it provides your pup with all the nutrients they need to grow up big and strong!

As your pooch matures they won’t need as many calories or portions of food, but choosing the right time to make the switch to adult food is crucial, as switching too early can result in health problems like bone and joint abnormalities. So, when is the right time to make the change and what is the best way to go about it? Here are our top tips on how and when to transition your pup on to adult food safely.

Timing is key

Transitioning to adult food should coincide with maturity, which varies amongst breeds. In general, small and medium dogs reach maturity around 9-12 months, with larger dogs maturing slower at about 12-15 months, and giant breeds even later at 18-24 months! If in doubt, it’s always best to double check with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet, as they’ll be able to offer guidance on your specific breed. 

Watch for signs

Growing puppies have much higher energy needs than adult dogs - there’s just so many exciting things to see, smell and chew! - but once they’ve reached maturity, their metabolic rate slows down. Your pooch will typically give you signs when they’re ready to transition on to adult food, as their calorie-dense puppy food will have filled them up much quicker, and topped up their energy stores; so they may skip meals or leave food that they would have normally gobbled up. Keep an eye on their bowls and start to reduce the number of meals you give them when they start showing signs of being full for longer.

However, if you notice that your dog has significantly lost their appetite and are not eating or drinking much at all, please pay a visit to your vet as soon as possible, as it could indicate something much more serious. 

Go slow

Your dog’s tummy is highly sensitive and rushing the change over to adult food can lead to painful and messy digestive issues, so it’s best to introduce it into their diet gradually. Slowly mix a little of the new food in, adding a little more of the new and less of the old each day for 14 days minimum. This gives them time to adjust to the new flavours, textures and smells, whilst being gentle on their stomach. After two weeks, your dog should be fully transitioned over to their adult dog food and will have officially graduated from their puppy diet. 

How much food do they need?

The amount of adult food you should give your dog depends on their size, breed, metabolic rate and activity level. They no longer need as much fuel for growth and development, and they’re typically much calmer than their younger-selves. As they mature, their metabolic rate will decrease, so you may need to reduce their portion sizes or decrease the amount of times you feed them in the day. Pups should be fed smaller portions more often, typically eating about three or four small meals a day, however when they transition on to adult food you should cut down to twice a day. 


Here at Harringtons, our range of dog foods provide a balanced, tasty meal that’s full of natural goodness and packed with plenty of minerals and vitamins. With options for puppies through to adult and even senior dogs, we’re with you every step of the way, providing delicious, nutritious food which makes for strong, healthy and happy dogs. Our recipes are tail-waggingly good, and our portion guides make it clear how much and how often you should feed your pooch! 

It’s important you calculate their portion sizes with any treats or snacks in mind as the calories can quickly add up, and much like us, being overweight can lead to a whole host of health problems for your pooch. Be sure they’re eating a complete, balanced diet and get plenty of exercise to stay fit and well.

Wondering about how much your dog should weigh? Head over to our blog that looks at healthy dog weights for some top tips on keeping your pooch in good shape.

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