Can Adult Dogs Eat Puppy Food?

Are you having an adult dog and a puppy? Are you thinking if they can eat the same food?

Or by mistake, you got puppy food instead of the food that was for your adult dog? Then you will be like Can adult dogs eat puppy food, we are here to give you the needed information and guide you through all nutritional needs.

Nutritional Needs

Usually, posts start directly with the answer, and then there is the following explanation of why so. But we want in this topic you to understand for yourself and then check the answer.

We are starting the guide with the nutritional needs a dog has during its lifespan. During the life of a dog, there are 3 stages – when the dog is a puppy, then it’s an adult dog, and then it’s a senior dog.

Today, we will mostly talk about puppies and adult dogs, but if you need information for senior dogs you can find it here.

By knowing the nutritional needs in the different stages of life it will be much easier for you when you have to choose food or check if the food your dog is having now is enough good.

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But even if we all know this, we still advise ourselves with the vets as they know a bit better the health situation of our dogs. And we highly recommend you do the same. Don’t forget that dogs need check-ups at least once a year.

Protein for adult dogs VS Protein for puppies

Protein is needed in every stage of life but in different amounts and this is exactly what you need to know – how much protein an adult dog needs and how much is needed for a puppy.

The food for adult dogs contains 15% to 23% of protein – that is the optimal diapason for their needs of maintaining weight and muscle mass.

But puppies need a bit more protein and their food is containing protein in the following range: from 22% to 32%. But you should ensure that puppies don’t get less than 22% as they will not be growing with the speed they need. Of course, puppies need around 30% of protein only right after weaning and slowly they should decrease the amount while they are growing up.

Best sources of protein:

Dogs are omnivores which means that they can eat both meat-based and plant-based diets, and the best diet is a combination of both. Puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs need high-quality protein for optimal growth and great overall health.

High-quality meat-based diets include a source of protein like chicken, beef, or lamb. While high-quality protein from a plant-based diet can be obtained from soybean, rice, corn, or wheat.

Another great option for protein is an egg but you shouldn’t give it raw or fried, the best option is to be boiled well.

Fat for adult dogs VS Fat for puppies

Fats are needed for a dog’s energy especially for puppies as they are nonstop running around. But let’s first see how much fat adult dogs need.

The fat in commercial dog food is around 10%-15% for adult dogs and that is enough for their needs as they aren’t that much active as puppies but still, they are a lot more active than senior dogs.

Puppies need from 10% to 25% of fat as they are in the most active stage of their life and there are so many changes happening then. Right at this stage they are growing and developing so much and they need extra help with good nutrition.

Best sources of fat:

The quality fat your dog can get by a proper balance between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Sources of good omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, flaxseed, and canola oils.

Sources of good omega-6 fatty acids are chicken fat, pork fat, sunflower oil, and vegetable oils.

Carbs for adult dogs VS Carbs for puppies

Carbs are the source of fast energy. They are also the main source of dietary fiber that dogs digestive system need. There are 2 types of fiber that dogs need:

Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It improves digestion and reduces blood cholesterol and sugar. That way it also reduces the risk of diabetes.

Insoluble fiber helps in softening the stool. It is the main helper of the bowel and the regular poop. Supports insulin sensitivity.

If your dog suffers from constipation, it doesn’t get enough fiber from the food. Then you should increase dogs’ fiber intake.

The carbs needed for adult dogs are around 30%-60%. Wow. So much. And now let’s compare it to the puppy’s needs.

Puppies need a maximum of 20% easily digested carbs.

Best sources of carbohydrates:

Calcium for adult dogs VS Calcium for puppies

Calcium is very needed for puppies but not only for their bones, it is needed for proper digestion and strong teeth. Puppies need around 1.2% calcium content in their meals. It may seem like that’s little but actually, it’s almost thrice the calcium content dogs need in adulthood. Adult dogs need only 0.5%.

Can Adult Dogs Eat Puppy Food?

Adult dogs shouldn’t eat puppy food.

As you already know adult dogs need less protein, less fat, and less calcium but more carbs than puppies.

So, it’s not good to give a 4 years old adult dog food that is suitable for a puppy. As they will not get the needed nutrition and overdose with fat and protein which will lead to weight gain or obesity. Also too much fat can lead to pancreatitis.

In the adulthood stage of life, dogs should keep up with the development they had in puppyhood and make sure that they maintain a healthy body.

Can Adult Dogs And Puppies Eat The Same Food

You may be like this question was answered already but actually, I am asking for something different than “Can adult dogs eat puppy food?”.

Adult dogs, senior dogs, and puppies can eat the same food in only one case. That’s the case when the food is labeled for “all life stages”. It means that this food gives the proper amount of nutrients for both developing and then maintaining processes.

But this type of food isn’t good for all dogs.


There are many cons of this food. If it’s good for all stages but we already know how much different the amount of nutrients puppies and adult dogs need. So they get some average portions of nutrients. But some adult dogs will need some nutrients more than others, will they get enough from this average solution?

That’s why there is such a big variety of foods, all companies try to meet the specific needs of all dogs in different stages and also for the different breeds.


Adult dogs shouldn’t eat puppy food and puppies shouldn’t eat adult dog food until they are near the adult stage. You should be careful with what food you feed them as it’s their source of nutrition for maintaining a healthy body.

Relevant articles:

Can Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food?

How to Choose Food for Puppies?

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Desislava Asenova
Desislava Asenova

Desi is a dog-lover and proud parent to Daisy, her sweet and sassy Chihuahua. She's always been fascinated by the different diets and eating habits of different animals, and she's especially interested in how food affects a dog's overall health and happiness.

When she's not busy writing about dog food, Desi enjoys pampering Daisy with long walks and playtime in the park. She's also an avid home cook and loves coming up with new recipes for her and Daisy to try out together. She's excited to share her passion for dog food and help other pet owners find the best food for their fur babies.

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