Can I Feed My Adult Dog Puppy Food?


Puppy foods aren't appropriate for adult dogs because they're designed to accommodate the nutritional requirements of growing youngsters. Although your mature pooch might perpetually seem like an adorable puppy, he needs to consume a healthy, well-rounded diet that's tailored to adults.

A labrador retriever eating a bowl of dog food.
A labrador retriever eating a bowl of dog food. (Image: Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images)

Adult Dogs Need Adult Food

Do not feed your adult dog puppy food. Commercial puppy foods are made to satisfy the nutritional demands of young dogs during the initial months of their lives. They contain the right blends of nutrients, minerals and vitamins that encourage proper development. Puppy foods don't lack components that are necessary in mature dogs, however. They actually offer excessive levels of protein and calories. Because of that, they aren't suitable for adults.

Possibility of Discomfort

Mature canines must eat based on their energy requirements and sizes. They require fewer essential nutrients and calories than puppies do. They need fewer calories because their metabolic rates are lower. Puppies often need to consume as much as two times the energy of adults. Since puppy formulas are created with the goal of ideal health in growing dogs, they can lead to potential discomfort and problems in adults. These problems include weight gain and stomach upset.

Changing to Adult Food

Puppies generally should consume nutritious puppy foods until they get to between 80 and 90 percent of their expected mature weights. This time frame varies depending on the breed. Giant and large dog breeds usually mature at slower paces than smaller breeds. However, most dogs get to the point of needing adult food when they're approximately 9 months old. If you have any questions regarding when to transition your pup to adult dog food, speak to your veterinarian.

Gradual Technique

Never be abrupt in switching your pet's diet. Sudden changes can often trigger digestive troubles such as loose and runny stools. When you first begin the switch from puppy fare to adult fare, feed your pooch 75 percent puppy food and 25 percent adult dog food. Continue doing this for several days. Switch to an even combination of 50 percent puppy food and 50 percent mature dog food. Continue with this feeding pattern for several days. Then feed your pet 25 percent puppy food and 75 percent adult food. Finally, transition to feeding your dog exclusively adult food.

Feeding Senior Adult Dogs

Owners must remember that adult dogs don't all have the same nutritional needs. Elderly dogs often benefit from diets that are made exclusively for seniors. Foods designed for elderly canines typically have goals such as chronic disease prevention and weight maintenance. Talk to your vet regarding when your adult dog should change to a senior diet plan. Depending on your dog's size, the appropriate time frame can be anywhere between 5 and 7 years old.

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