Can Adult Dogs Eat Puppy Food?

Can Adult Dogs Eat Puppy Food?

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If you own an adult dog and a puppy, feeding time can be quite the task. While it would be easier to have both dogs on the same food, adult dogs need adult food and puppies need puppy food. This is because they both require different things from the food they consume.

While it is useful to feed the adult and puppy dogs in different rooms, this is not always easy to do. Feeding dogs in the same room is also a good idea as it does help to prevent resource guarding in the future.

If you are feeding the dogs in the same room and at the same time, it is likely that your adult dog has pricked up its ears and turned its attention on the puppy food.

The majority of dogs want what another dog has and it is likely that they have tried their luck and have given the puppy food a go.

If your dog has eaten puppy food, it is only natural to worry about whether or not this is safe for them. While it may not be so great for adult dogs to eat puppy food for an extended period, it will not harm them to eat puppy food.

We hope that you find this reassuring to know.

In this article, we will be delving into this topic a little further as it is not quite as straightforward as it may seem. For example, there are some occasions where your dog may need to eat puppy food for a few months.

If you would like to find out more information prepare to embark on this journey with us!

What Will Happen If My Dog Eats Puppy Food?

In the grand scheme of things, if your adult dog eats puppy food on the odd occasion, it is not going to negatively impact it. 

Dogs are known to raid cupboards and hoover up anything that is left on the floor. If they happen to eat some puppy food by mistake it is unlikely to make them ill and it is safe for them to eat. 

The Differences Between Adult And Puppy Food

Problems will only start to arise if you are feeding an adult dog solely on puppy food. Once they reach maturity, they should be switched on to an adult diet. If you do not do this, over time your dog is unlikely to receive all the nutrients it needs. 

Adult dog food tends to have good additives that will help with mobility, joints, and the dog’s overall health. Puppy food contains good nutrients too, but it focuses on growth and development. 

In addition to this, puppies require a more calorific diet that is particularly high in protein in comparison to adult dogs. If your adult is only being fed on puppy food, it will likely become overweight as it is consuming more calories than it can burn off. 


If your dog has allergies and is on a specific diet, if it consumes puppy food that contains ingredients that do not agree with them, it can potentially make your dog ill. 

While it is difficult to stop your dog from eating puppy food if you are feeding a puppy at the same time, you should exercise caution when allergies are present.

When Should My Adult Dog Eat Puppy Food?

You may be surprised to learn that there are certain instances where it is recommended for adult dogs to eat puppy food.

While this seems to be a juxtaposition, it is sometimes necessary.


If your dog is pregnant or has just given birth, she will need all of the calories she can consume. Being pregnant and feeding the pups is no easy task and your dog will be burning off a lot more calories than normal.

This is why it is recommended that you feed your dog on a good quality puppy diet from pregnancy through to when then pups have been weaned. Your dog will certainly be grateful for this. 

While some people would be concerned about weight gain from feeding an adult dog on puppy food for a few months, this is unlikely to be drastic. This is because the dog will be burning the calories which counteract the extra intake. 

Underweight Dogs

If your dog is particularly underweight, you may be recommended to feed it with puppy food. While many different types of adult food encourage weight gain, puppy food can sometimes speed up the process.

In this instance, puppy food is often mixed and incorporated with your dog’s usual food. Underweight dogs need food that is high in calories. Puppy food tends to contain slightly more fat in comparison to adult dog food which can also help with the weight gain process.

While puppy food can be used for a good amount of time, it is usually recommended to switch your dog back to adult food when it has reached its desired weight to help maintain that weight. 

High Energy Breeds

If you own a breed of dog that is a particularly high energy, often adult food does not contain enough calories. If your dog is burning off more calories than it is consuming, this can eventually lead to them potentially becoming overweight.

In this case, it is worth incorporating puppy food into the dog’s diet. Whether this is switching to puppy food completely, or incorporating puppy food in with the adult food. This will help to prevent your high energy dog from losing muscle mass and weight. 


We hope that this article helped to put your mind at ease regarding adult dogs eating puppy food. As you can see, it is nothing to be concerned about and should not negatively affect your dog.

While caution should be taken if your dog has allergies, the majority of dogs will not be negatively affected by eating a small amount of puppy food. In some cases such as pregnancy, high energy breeds, and underweight dogs, puppy food is recommended. 

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