Can You Feed Puppy Food To Older Dogs?

There are many questions that dog owners ask themselves when bringing up their dogs like how long should a dog swim for a good workout? And most importantly what should I feed my dog to ensure he is healthy. When it comes to a dog’s nutrition, there is a lot of food in the stores and one might wonder if it is necessary to buy dog food as per their life stage or is it right to feed puppy food to older dogs.

The answer to whether you should feed puppy food to older dogs is simply no. Feeding puppy food to an adult dog can lead to a lot of health complications. This is because puppy food is made with a lot of proteins and calories to aid in growth. When an adult dog consumes puppy food, because proteins and calories are not used in any growth, they lead to obesity. Excess protein also leads to kidney problems.

Rare Occasions When Feeding Puppy Food to Older Dogs Is Recommended

Even though feeding puppy food to an older dog is not recommended, there are occasions when it is crucial like:

  • Pregnant/Weaning

The majority of energy and nutrients are given to the puppies by pregnant and nursing dogs. Puppy chow is an excellent technique to ensure that moms get enough nutrients until the pups are ready to be weaned.

  • Underweight

If your dog has lost a lot of weight due to sickness, your vet may prescribe feeding a calorie-dense diet like puppy food to help receive more calories in smaller portions. This will help your slim dog gain muscle mass more quickly.

  • High Energy

Some breeds require a lot of energy, and a standard diet can’t keep up with them. A puppy formula may help them maintain muscle and energy, keeping them active and powerful.

Apart from the above-mentioned cases, you should not feed your adult dog puppy food.

Can I Feed My Dog All Life Stages Food

It can sound a bit contradicting that it is not right to feed puppy food to an older dog but is right to feed a dog all life stages food.

All life stages food contains nutrients that are required by dogs of all stages like omega fatty acids which are crucial to puppies and adults too. These nutrients are standardized to a level that is suitable for all ages.

The main rule when feeding dogs all life stages food is to give the appropriate amount as per the instructions on the package.  

Can Puppy Food Cause Diarrhea In Older Dogs?

If your dog happens to eat puppy food accidentally, it will cause diarrhea and digestion issues. Anytime a dog changes his diet he is likely to experience digestion issues.

Whenever you are changing your dog’s diet, it is not advisable to do it instantly. If your older dog has been feeding on puppy food, you should introduce adult meals but in small portions. You should mix the puppy food with the new type of food you want to introduce and later add the amount bit by bit.

When puppy food is the only meal available, you should not starve your dog but you should note that he will have stomach issues switching back to adult food.

When is the Right Time to Switch Food to Senior Food?

The breed, size, and weight of a dog indicate when it is time to transition from puppy to adult food. Large dogs and small dogs have different lifespan meaning their senior age differs too. The same case applies to different dog breeds.

You should consult your vet to know the right time to switch to senior food is. You can also look for aging signs like; losing sight or hearing ability, mobility issues, bad breath, and gradual weight changes (it might increase or decrease).

Switching food at the right time helps your dog to minimize the aging problems in dogs or reduce their seriousness when they occur.

Senior food contains joint supplements, omega-3, and many other nutrients required by senior dogs.


Feeding puppy food to an older dog is wrong and hazardous to their health. Dog food made for puppies contains nutrients that are much needed by a puppy but not an older dog.

This does not mean that if your older dog accidentally fed on puppies’ food you should panic, he will only have some minor digestion issues.

If you have a puppy and an older dog in your home, it is not advisable to let them feed on each other’s food. If they do it occasionally it might not be an issue but it should not be habitually because the puppy will have malnutrition and the older dog will be obese.

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