puppy waiting for food

Can Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food?

Puppies diets: there is so much information out there it can be overwhelming. Here's one of the questions we're asked regularly.

Being the owner of a puppy is just one constant raft of questions; is this toy suitable for them? Does this harness fit properly? How long will they need puppy pads for? And amongst the most common questions is what sort of food should you be feeding them?

Just like us humans, food is one of the key ingredients to a proactive, healthy and happy life. There are, however, plenty of questions surrounding food for our pups, like can they eat grain free puppy food? And when can puppies eat dry food? Another major question is whether they’re able to eat adult dog food, or whether they should be on puppy-formulated food. In this post, we’ll be exploring just that.

Key Takeaways

If you’re running short on time, then here’s what you need to know:


  • Generally speaking, you should try to feed your puppy food i.e. food that’s specifically targeted at that age bracket.

  • Puppies require a specific dietary intake to match their rapid growth at that age, including lots of protein, calories, and certain minerals and vitamins.

  • Adult dog food is unlikely to make your puppy seriously ill, but it might cause the odd bit of nausea, and it won’t have the right balance of nutrients in the same way that puppy-targeted food will.

Figuring Out Puppy Food

For first-time dog owners, the puppy food conversation can be overwhelming. There’s an extensive range to choose from. You’ll also hear a lot from fellow dog owners sharing what they think is the best healthy puppy food. Among all the noise, bustle and talk, it’s a good idea to remember a few key things puppies need:


  • Lots of protein: fosters muscle and bone development 

  • High calorie intake: the fuel that keep our pups going during playtime and beyond 

  • Minerals and vitamins: great for boosting teeth and bone growth

Can a Puppy Eat Adult Dog Food?

One question that we hear a lot is can puppies eat regular dog food? In a recent Beco poll, we found out that 79% of you know the difference between puppy and adult dog food. But that doesn’t necessarily mean people know what you can and can’t feed your puppy.

If you’re looking at any old dog food that includes high levels of protein, calories and minerals, then surely it’s okay for puppies, right? This is where you need to be careful. Puppies need a finely-tuned balance, which many adult dog foods don’t necessarily provide.

If you do choose to feed your pup adult dog food, then that’s okay. Adult food won’t necessarily make your puppy seriously ill – it’s dog food, after all. They may, however, experience an upset stomach here and there. But there’s a difference between can and should; the major risk in feeding your puppy adult dog food is that you may not be feeding your pup exactly what they need to have the best chance in life, with regards to their growth and development. So, feed your pup puppy food, if possible.

Why Do Puppies and Adult Dogs Need Different Food?

The simple answer: size and growth. As already mentioned, a puppy is in the growing phase of its life, essential early days that play a big part later down the line. They need food with nutritious ingredients, therefore, to support this. That means having higher levels of amino acids, minerals and vitamins.

Another reason is due to body temperature. Puppies lose body heat quicker than adult dogs, which means movement is key. This requires energy, and lots of it. Foods should be high in calories and contain a certain amount of fats. This fuels them to help boost body temperature, and of course, give them all they need for puppy playtime.

When Can Puppies Eat Adult Food?

Generally speaking, puppies will move on from puppy-specific dog food to adult-targeted dog food between 9 and 15 months, depending on the breed. Smaller breeds will typically move on to adult food more quickly than large and giant breeds – for the latter, it can be up to 24 months before they’re fully grown and ready to move on to adult dog food. If you’re at all unsure about when to transition, consult your vet.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to puppies, it’s a good idea to feed them food specifically created for puppies. This is a good rule of thumb to follow throughout your time as a dog owner; feed them food that’s suitable for that particular stage of their life. If you have an older dog, look for foods that keep bones and joints strong; for puppies, find food that helps bones, joints and muscles grow. In short, when it comes to puppy food vs adult food, it’s all about your dog and the life stage they’re at.


It’s easy for first-time dog owners to be overwhelmed by puppyhood, and what you feed them is right at the top of this pile of worries. As long as you feed your puppy food that’s high in calories and protein and packed full of nutrients, minerals and vitamins, you’re onto a winner. These will help foster growth and give your puppy the best start in life.

Want Some Delicious Puppy Food?

Why not check out our delicious puppy food from our puppy pack? With fresh free-range turkey, pumpkin and spinach, it’s full of protein and essential amino acids. It’s also a great way to fulfill your pup's taste buds from an early age. Cooked low and slow, it locks in all the nutritious goodness and tasty flavour, and is perfect for owners looking for sensitive stomach puppy food

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