Puppies are like babies, tiny, cute, adorable, moody, sleepy (makes you want to hug them super tight, well you can’t), full of energy, and always hungry. Just like babies, puppies cannot eat food made for adults as they have to eat food exclusively created for them.
When it comes to new pet parents, they want the best for their fur babies. And there are a lot of best products in the market which may overwhelm them. Generally, adult dog food is easy to get as it is widely available, is a little cheaper, and looks similar to puppy food. So, new pet parents grab it.
Also, sometimes it is convenient for paw parents with several dogs (from pups to adults) to get one kind of dog food. It might be a simple solution when buying dog food made for ‘all ages/ all life stages’. But, it might be a problem when purchasing adult food for puppies or vice versa.
Let us further discuss these problems in depth.
What happens when a puppy eats adult dog food?
Dogs under the age of one are considered puppies. Puppies need to eat puppy food made for their growth and nourishment. As they are full of energy, and to make that energy viable for Zoomies they need food consisting of high calories, protein for bone and muscle development, and additional nutrients for overall growth. Although adult dog food consists of calories, protein, and nutrients they are in much lower quantities.
Another reason for giving puppies food that is high in calories and good fats is body temperature. Puppies need regular moments as they lose body heat quicker than adult dogs, and for these instants, they need energy that gets generated from their food. Royal Canin mini Starter, N and D puppy food, and Canine Creek starter are some examples of puppy food.
If you give puppies adult dog food, they might not get seriously ill, but it will hinder their growth and development.
What happens when an adult dog eats puppy food?
Like humans, dogs stop growing much when they reach adulthood, so their requirements for pretty much everything diminishes. As puppy food has high protein, calorie, fat, and nutrient content, if an adult dog eats it, it will lead to the dog being overweight. It can happen as an adult dog’s body does not use as many nutrients as a puppy's and has slower metabolism. The high protein and fats may lead to several health issues, such as heart issues, arthritis, and diabetes.
When a thin dog needs to gain a healthy weight, the high protein content of puppy or “all life stages” dog food might do the trick. Pregnant, nursing or high-energy dogs have pretty similar dietary requirements as a puppy, so puppy food is a great way to ensure they get the proper nutrients. Some adult dog foods are canine creek dog food, smartheart dog food, Chappi dog food, Purepet, and Purina Supercoat dog food.
What about food that says “all life stages”?
Dog food that reads “all life stages” contains the minimum nutritional requirements for any given life stage and is also known to have higher protein and carbohydrates. With the trick of ‘portion control’ most dogs can be fed this type of food as it contains key nutrients for every dog.
When you feed an adult dog such food, paw parents should keep an eye on their doggos’ body weight and health. It is recommended to paw parents to feed their doggos foods that are appropriate for their life stage.
Transitioning from puppy food to adult dog food
The exact time to switch between the two foods depends on the dog breed. While small-breed puppies can transition to adult food from 9 to 12 months, large-breed puppies should switch from 12 to 18 months, and giant-breed dogs after 24 months. It is important to remember even if your puppy looks all grown up on the outside it is still developing on the inside, so do not rush into the transition.
The best way to make this transition smooth is by introducing the new dog food little by little in your puppy's food over a week. If the shift is hurried, it may lead to gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, vomiting, or even food allergies, as puppies have sensitive stomachs. Even after a smooth change if the puppy suffers from diarrhea or vomiting, you should consult a vet immediately.
The right type of food is the key to your dog/puppy being healthy. Every dog needs a completely balanced diet, which you can understand by changing a few things once in a while in your dog's diet and seeing their and their body’s response to it. It might seem problematic specifically while being a busy paw parent. So, If you are uncertain about what to feed your dog, ask your vet for some advice.