Accidentally Bought Puppy Food? – How To Fix The Situation

Times go by fast and sometimes we don’t notice how bigs are lovable pups get. So it’s no wonder that sometimes we make mistakes. What would you do if you accidentally bought puppy food for your adult dog?

Once you have realized that you bought the wrong food for your dog, avoid feeding it. Instead, try to return it to the store or exchange it with someone else. You can also use it occasionally as a treat. But there are ways you can avoid making this mistake in the future.

Nutritional Difference Between Puppy And Adult Dog Food

There is a reason why age-appropriate food for dogs exists. Puppy food is filled with more protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals, meant to aid its growth and development. It is also made in a smaller kibble size accommodating to the pup’s smaller mouth. There is also evaporated milk for nursing dogs that is filled with nutrients to keep them big and strong.

By analyzing the ingredients, we can notice adult dog formulas contain the same ingredients but in smaller amounts. Their goal is to maintain the adult dog’s health and energy needs by offering a balanced diet. They are also consisted of kibble in larger sizes. There are also many adult dog food options made for specific dog breeds, or for dogs that have specific problems with their health.

Can Adult Dogs Eat Puppy Food?

The nutritional needs of adult dogs do not include puppy food. Feeding adult dogs puppy food will only lead to the dog growing in its weight and belly. There are certain instances when an adult dog can eat puppy food. Pregnant, underweight, and high-energy dogs can benefit from eating highly caloric puppy food. For example, Blue Heelers are medium-sized dogs and might gain weight from this food. But Great Danes are large and need lots of calories that puppy food has. 

Becoming Overweight

Giving highly caloric puppy food to an adult dog that stopped growing will lead to it becoming overweight. If the dog doesn’t know when to stop eating and doesn’t follow its feeding schedule, it may become obese and suffer from other related health problems.

Because puppy food contains a lot of calcium, some skeletal issues may arise from adult dogs consuming it.

Health Problems

Besides obesity, puppy food can also be a cause of other health problems in adult dogs. Liver and kidney disease can be a result of the overwhelming amount of nutrients in the puppy’s food. Adult dogs are also in danger of developing pancreatitis from eating puppy food with high-fat content. These dogs may have diarrhea at night if fed puppy food in the evening.

What To Do If You Accidentally Bought Puppy Food?

If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few solutions you can try. Most of them are simple and will work with little effort.

Exchange It With Other Dog Owner

If you have a friend, family, or neighbor that owns a puppy, you can ask to exchange the food with them. If they have food for adult dogs, just make the exchange, otherwise, they may agree to buy the food from you.

Return It To The Store

If you noticed that you got the wrong food soon after buying it, you can return to the store and ask for an exchange or a refund. Most stores have a policy that lets you do this transaction. Still, some stores may not allow this.

Donate It To A Shelter

If money isn’t a problem for you and you feel like doing a humane thing, take the wrongfully bought food to a local shelter for dogs. There will be puppies that need the food. You can search for a local shelter online or ask a vet for advice.

Mix It With Regular Food

Giving puppy food to adult dogs is possible if you mix it with adult dog food. Usually, the formula would be to combine 25% of puppy food with 75% of adult dog food. Your dog will enjoy the taste of puppy food while still maintaining its weight.

Use It For Treats

You can use puppy food as a treat for your adult dog. This will help greatly as using treats is part of positive reinforcement when training a dog. Just make sure you watch out how much of it you give to the dog considering the calories.

Keep It For The Future

Dog food can usually last around 12-18 months after the manufacturing date. If you plan to have new puppies in the near future, you can keep the puppy food for them. Make sure you keep the food in a dry and cold place so it doesn’t spoil.

How To Stop Buying The Wrong Dog Food

If this is something that happens often and you want to prevent the same thing from happening, there are a few things you can do.

Read The Label Carefully

To avoid buying puppy food for older dogs, pay attention to what you are buying. Read the label and see what the specific dog food is intended for. There are dog foods meant for puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs

There are also different adult dog food options for different breeds. Choose the one that fits your dog’s age and breed. You should also choose dog food from a reliable company like Pedigree or Purina.

Ask The Shopkeeper

If you are not sure that you can choose the right food by yourself, you can always ask the shopkeeper for help. If you are buying food at a pet shop, the owner will happily suggest adequate food for your dog.

When buying in the supermarket, you might need to ask someone from the employees to assist you while buying the food you need. Just make sure you know your dog’s age and breed before you go.

Know Your Dog’s Age

To make sure you are buying age-appropriate dog food for adults, you first need to know how old your dog is. Once you get your dog, start making notes on a calendar or a phone of your dog’s age. If you buy it from a breeder, they will tell you when exactly it was born.

Generally, dogs become adults once they reach the age of 1-2 years. All this depends on the breed and size of the dog.

Can A Puppy Eat Adult Dog Food?

Puppies eat puppy dog food because it contains more nutrients needed for them to grow and develop properly. Technically, puppies can eat dog food, but not continuously. This is because they won’t get the required nutrients for growth.

Small breeds like Corgis mature at the age of 12 months and can transition to eating adult dog food. For larger breeds, this usually happens at the age of 18 months.

So What Should You Do If You Accidentally Bought Puppy Food?

Buying the wrong food for your dog is a common concern and can happen to everyone. There is a big difference between puppy food and adult dog food so being careful is a must when feeding your dog. Surpassing adult dog diet requirements by giving food meant for puppies, puts them at risk of becoming obese and developing health problems.

Once you’ve bought the wrong food, you can try taking it back to the store or exchanging it with a friend. If that doesn’t work, you can use the puppy food as a treat or mix it with the adult dog food. You can also keep it for the future if you plan on getting new puppies.

To prevent yourself from buying the wrong food, you should read the label carefully or ask for help. You should also know your dog’s age and breed before buying dog food for it.


What happens if you accidentally eat dog food?

Eating a small amount of dog food will usually not cause any problems for humans. That said, high amounts of it can cause a myriad of health problems, including food-borne infections.

Is it OK for dogs to swallow kibble whole?

It is fine if the dog starts ingesting the whole kibble from time to time. However, it does put itself at a risk of developing digestion problems, and may even choke if it inhales the kibble by mistake.

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

If you accidentally bought puppy food and fed it to an adult dog for a long time, you may notice it gaining weight and interfering with the dog’s digestion. It also may experience changes in its coat, skin, and mood.

What happens when you feed a puppy human food?

Feeding small amounts of your own food to a dog won’t be a problem if the food you give is proven to be safe for dogs. However, avoid giving it in large amounts as you it can cause gastrointestinal problems.

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