🥺 Accidentally Bought Puppy Food? Solutions You Can Use

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you accidentally bought the wrong type of food for your dog? Trust me, you’re not the only one, especially with so many options all around us.

If this has just happened to you, there are a number of options to consider, such as returning or exchanging it, using it as a high-value treat, or doing a nice deed by donating to the local shelter! Your new purchase will definitely not go wasted.

In this post, you will find out if adult dogs can eat puppy food, all the things you can do if you bought one wrongly, and what you can do in the future to prevent this from happening again!

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Dear Dog Owner

Can Adult Dogs Eat Puppy Food?

Can Adult Dogs Eat Puppy Food?

While it may seem like all dog food is the same, it is not. 

Simply put, it is not recommended to feed puppy food to adult dogs, although they technically can eat it.

Puppy food is formulated to provide higher levels of certain nutrients, such as protein and fat, to support a growing puppy’s rapid growth and development. 

Adult dogs have different nutritional needs, so it is best to feed them food formulated for them. 

Feeding an adult dog a diet high in these nutrients can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Learn this: When do puppies start eating food and drinking water?

What Is The Difference Between Puppy Food And Adult Dog Food?

As the owner of a furry friend, I understand how overwhelming it is to choose the right food for your pet, especially when your need to make the right choice between puppy and adult dog food. 

Dog food has been designed to address the distinctive nutritional requirements of puppies in their growth stage and fully-grown dogs.

Let’s delve into the differences between the two kinds: 

Puppy food contains higher protein, fat, and specific vitamins and minerals to support a puppy’s rapid growth, development, and immune system function. 

In addition, puppy food has smaller kibble sizes to accommodate a puppy’s smaller mouth and developing teeth.

On the other hand, adult dog food is formulated with lower levels of these nutrients and is designed to maintain an adult dog’s overall health and energy needs. 

Adult dog food has larger kibble sizes to support adult teeth and chewing patterns.

Choosing the right food for your dog’s stage of life is essential to ensure its health and well-being.

Problem/ Risks With Adult Dogs Eating Puppy Food

There are several problems and risks associated with adult dogs eating puppy food:

  • Excess nutrients: Puppy food contains higher levels of protein, fat, and specific vitamins and minerals, which can cause weight gain or other health problems in adult dogs if consumed excessively over time.
  • Nutrient imbalances: Puppy food is formulated to meet the specific nutritional needs of growing puppies, which can create imbalances in an adult dog’s diet.
  • Skeletal problems: Consuming excess amounts of calcium and other nutrients in puppy food can lead to skeletal problems, such as joint issues, in adult dogs.
  • Health problems: Overconsumption of certain nutrients can also increase the risk of health problems in adult dogs, such as liver and kidney disease.
  • Inadequate nutrition: Adult dogs have different nutritional needs than puppies and may need more of certain nutrients if fed a diet intended for puppies.

Thus, feeding an adult dog a diet intended for puppies can have significant health consequences and is not recommended.

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What To Do If You Accidentally Bought Puppy Food For Your Adult Dog?

Oh no, you did it again! You grabbed the wrong bag of dog food, and now your adult dog is facing a diet intended for growing puppies. 

But don’t worry; all is not lost! You can take several steps to correct this mistake and ensure your furry friend receives proper nutrition. 

This is a great way to help dogs in need, as shelters and rescues often need puppy food. Reach out to your local organization and offer to donate the food.

Exchange It With Someone Else

If you know someone with a puppy, you could exchange the puppy food with them. This way, you can get what you need without spending extra money or letting anything go to waste.

Mix It With The Regular Dog Food You Are Using

If you’re uncomfortable with donating or exchanging the food, you can mix it with your adult dog’s regular food. 

That way, they are still getting the intended nutrients, but the puppy food isn’t going to waste – it may even entice a fussy pup to want to eat.

Use Them As Treats

Puppy food can also be used as occasional treats for your adult dog. This way, you can use the food without completely switching their diet. And it’ll save you on dog treats for a while!

Return It For An Exchange Or Refund

If none of the above works for you, you could return the food for an exchange or refund. Always make sure to check the store’s return policy before doing so.

Save It If You Are Expecting New Puppies

If you are planning on getting new puppies in the future, you can save the puppy food for when they arrive. This way, you’ll have the right food on hand when they arrive. 

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How To Prevent Buying The Wrong Food For Your Dog?

With so many options available, it’s easy to buy the wrong food accidentally. Here are some tips on preventing buying incorrect food for your dog.

Reading The Labels Before Purchasing

One of the most important things you can do to prevent buying the wrong food for your dog is to read the labels carefully before purchasing. 

Look for information about the food’s intended life stage, such as puppy, adult, or senior. This will help ensure you choose the right food for your dog’s needs.

Understanding Your Dog’s Life Stage

Understanding your dog’s life stage is critical to choosing the right food. 

A dog’s life stage refers to the different developmental stages that a dog goes through throughout their life, from birth to old age. 

These life stages are essential because each phase has specific nutritional needs, and choosing the right food for each stage is crucial for maintaining the well-being of your dog.

Keeping Track Of Your Dog’s Age

It’s easy to lose track of time, but it’s essential to keep track of your dog’s age so you know which type of food is best for them. 

Keeping a calendar or making a note on your phone can help ensure you always remember your dog’s age and choose the right food for them.

Have you accidentally fed your dog twice? Find out what you can do.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the signs that my dog is not getting the right nutrition?

Signs that your dog is not getting proper nutrition include weight loss or gain, dull coat, lethargy, digestive issues, and a weakened immune system. Consult your vet if you suspect your dog is not receiving proper nutrition.

Is it okay to switch between puppy and adult food?

Switching between puppy and adult food is okay, but it should be done gradually to avoid digestive upset or other health issues. You should consult with your local vet to determine the appropriate transition schedule based on your dog’s age and nutritional needs.

Can puppy food make a grown dog sick?

Yes. Feeding adult dogs puppy food can lead to health problems due to the high calorie and nutrient content designed for growing puppies. It is best to feed adult dogs food formulated for their age and stage of life to ensure optimal health.

In Conclusion: What if You Accidentally Bought Puppy Food?

While it might be a little bit frustrating, you don’t have to get too upset over a small mistake like this.

There are plenty of options for you if you do find yourself in this position, so fret not!

Check out other articles about dog care such as when can you shower your dog after vaccination, what to do if you stepped on your puppy’s paws, why is your dog not eating much but sleeping a lot, and many more on our blog!

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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