It so happens that picky puppies grow into picky adult dogs. They develop a liking for puppy food and they want to eat it even if their body does not require it anymore. But, can adult dogs eat puppy food? And what happens if your adult dog continually eats puppy food? Let’s find out!
Puppy Food Vs Adult Food
Who would have thought that food made for the same species can be so different? It’s different because puppies and adults have different dietary requirements as they grow older.
Puppies require a lot more proteins and calories than adults but even after a nutritional diet, they remain skinny. This is because all the proteins and extra vitamins are used up to help them grow.
Since India does not have any specific guidelines for pet food formulas, we have added the guidelines forwarded by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The below outline of vitamins and minerals are a mandatory guideline for dog food formulas in the United States.
Arginine, isoleucine, leucine, lysin etc are different varieties of protein. Arginine is a growth hormone. The other nutrients include amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, fat, sodium etc. As you can see that allocated requirement for all the nutrients is higher for puppy food.
Adult dogs need the same nutrients as puppies but their requirement is much lesser than adult dogs.
What Happens When My Adult Dogs Eat Puppy Food?
Most adult dogs prefer puppy food because of the taste. If you have more than one dog living in different walks of life, it may be difficult for you to separate your adult dog from the puppy food and the puppy from adult food.
So, when you give in to their demands and start feeding your adult dog puppy food, you may be responsible for the following:
When adults are having too many fats and nutrients, they often turn to undigested fat that is kept as storage. Too much of it can lead to obesity.
When they are having more than what is needed, the body is often pressured to digest it and break down the access nutrients. This often leads to lethargy. You may notice that your dog shows less interest in walks and playtime.
3. Kidney problems
This may happen if you have a senior dog consuming puppy food. Senior dogs have weaker organs and by pressuring them to have high protein formulas, they may start to have kidney problems which will impede with their quality of life.
In severe cases, the extra fats in puppy food may even lead to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas swells up because it is not able to take the pressure of excess fats and sugars. Pancreatitis may cause unbearable pain and requires you to rush your dog to the vet.
Is It Ever Okay To Give An Adult Dog Puppy Food?
Unlike cat food, puppy food does have all the components a dog needs, so an occasional treat will do them no harm.
Owners of dogs who do high agility jobs or strength training often give them puppy food to provide them with extra protein, fats and nutrients. However, dogs need to be running for more than an hour to qualify as high agility working dogs.
Another instance when puppy food works for adult dogs is when the adult is a lactating mother. Feeding and raising puppies burn off a lot of energy for new mothers and they benefit a lot from the extra calories in puppy food.
In both the above cases, pet parents and trainers must know when to wean the dog off the puppy food. Having it for too long can make even the most active dogs obese.
Can My Puppy Have Adult Food?
Since adult dog food will deprive your puppy of the nutrition they need during their growing years, we highly advise you not to give your puppy adult dog food.
Puppies that have adult food may have stunted growth, weaker bones, slower brain development, poor reproductive health and so on. It is essential for them to get certain vitamins and minerals during their puppy years because they cannot break it down as they grow older.
Solution For Those With Many Dogs
You may have more than one dog and they are all living in different walks of life. It is probably very difficult for you to keep your puppies away from the adult food and adults away from the puppy food.
Secondly, it is exceptionally difficult to buy 3 different formulas for 3 different dogs. So, how do you fix the problem?
Perhaps the best way to handle this problem is to stick to ‘All Life Stages’ formulas. Formulas for dogs of all ages is perhaps the best compromise for those with many dogs. The nutrients are slightly on the lower end for puppies and slightly on the higher end for adult dogs but it gives them a moderately healthy life.
It is less risky to give your adult dog puppy food than it is to give your puppy adult food. So, if you have two picky eaters and both like the puppy formula, you can get away with giving your adult dog a smaller portion of the puppy food. However, we only suggest this as a temporary solution and not as a permanent one. This may not be a good strategy for obese adults, and adults with pancreatic problems. Please consult your vet for better guidance.
It is ideal to have a word with your vet and see for a better solution. Your vet will know their lifestyle and will be able to guide you well with your unique condition.
We hope this article was helpful. What do you feed your dogs? Let us know in the comment section below.