Differences in Diets: Puppy vs Adult Dog

If you are reading this article, it is most likely that you are not a baby. With that said, you probably wouldn’t be eating baby food. Just like us, dogs also need different kinds of diets depending on their stages of life. So how exactly do we care for our puppies in Singapore diet-wise and what kinds of dog food should we be giving them?

Compared to an adult dog, puppies require much more protein (and higher concentrations of specific amino acids), fat, and other minerals for their growth and development. Some dog food manufacturers also include more nutrients such as omega-3 amino fatty acids that have been shown to promote healthy brain and eye development in our young puppies.

Puppies generally need to get between 22% - 32% of their daily intake from protein sources as compared to adult dogs that only need 18% of their daily calorie intake to be protein-based. That being said it is not enough for your dog food to state that it contains proteins. Your puppy food should contain 10 major amino acids (the building blocks of protein): valine, threonine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, lysine, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, arginine and histidine.

Apart from protein, there are other AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines and regulations on what goes into dog food and puppy food. To name the main ingredient differences between puppy and adult food, puppy food requires 8% of fat compared to 5% for adults, 1% of calcium compared to 0.6% for adults, and 0.3% sodium compared to 0.06% for adult dog food.

Whether you are thinking of owning a puppy, already have one or have a teenage dog, you might wonder how long you will need to feed your favourite canine puppy food before transitioning into adult feed.

As a rule of thumb, if your puppy is 6-12 weeks old they are considered a growing pup and need to be fed a diet specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs for normal development. It is important that your puppy is not being fed adult dog food as this will rob your pup of the important nutrients it needs. 

Only when your puppy reaches about 6-12 months do you start switching from nutrient-rich puppy food to adult dog food gradually over a period of a few days. Smaller breeds typically can switch earlier at around 7 to 9 months while larger breeds around 12-14 months.

That being said, there are dog food that are formulated for “all life stages” which means it is suitable for both your puppy’s growing months and when they transform into an adult, which means you wouldn’t have to switch to a new food type when your puppy grows older.

Owning a puppy in Singapore can be expensive business and we may find ourselves asking whether it is worth buying expensive puppy food. Generally, premium dog food has higher nutritional density which means that most likely you can feed your puppy or dog less to achieve the same results. Such food also contains stable ingredient profiles considering major dog-food companies invest a lot in research and development, as compared to budget brands dog food whose composition could vary from batch to batch.

If you are looking for high quality dog food in Singapore, we recommend checking out this list of the “4 Finest Cooked Dog Food Brands in Singapore” that allows you to serve home-cooked goodness to your pet without all of the hassle.

When it comes to treats, there is also a concern in Singapore on whether adult dog treats are safe for your puppy to eat considering that their teeth are still developing. As a rule of thumb, make sure that any treats fed to your puppy should be soft enough for them to chew and sizeable enough to fit into their mouths. Some examples include soft-baked dog treats or free-dried dog treats.

At the end of the day, each dog is unique depending on its breed, size, life stage and health condition. When in doubt, always check with your vet before making any major diet changes for your puppy or adult dog.

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