There is a significant difference between puppy food and adult dog food. Dogs have different nutritional needs throughout their development. Providing your dog with the correct food for the physical development stage they are in their life is vital to their health.
Surely you can’t give a human baby the same kind of food as you would a grown human adult. In the same way, mature dogs and puppies have different dietary requirements.
Owners should know the difference between puppy and adult dog food to ensure they give their furry friends the correct meals at different stages in their lives.
What Dietary Requirements Do Puppies Have?
Puppies are busy growing, and depending on the breed, they can grow really fast. Their active nature burns a lot of energy. Therefore, they require more protein, calcium, and a higher calorie-based diet. To ensure healthy development in their tissue growth, puppies need to consume more calories than adult dogs.
What Dietary Requirements Do Dogs Have?
When a puppy is fully grown, they should move onto regular adult dog food. Dogs who are fully grown need to maintain their already established healthy bodies. Dogs need six basic nutrients that include fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and water. The intake of these basic nutrients ensures a well-functioning body and a gorgeous coat.
It’s important that an adult dog’s calorie diet intake contains at least 10% from protein. Their diets can have up to 50% carbohydrates that include 3-4.5% fiber.
What Is The Difference?
The main difference between puppy and dog food is that puppy food caters to reproductive and growth, and dog food caters to maintaining good health. Puppy foods contain 22% protein, whereas adult dog foods only consist of 18%. Another major difference is that puppy foods contain 8% fat comparing to adult dog food that only contains 5% fat.
Other differences include 0.8% Phosphorus, 0.3% Sodium, and 1% Calcium in puppy foods comparing to adult foods that contain 0.5% Phosphorus, 0.06% Sodium, and 0.6% Calcium.
These percentages are also the minimum requirements of nutrients within the composition of puppy and dog foods.
Puppy foods have a higher concentration of fats, minerals, omega-3, and other amino acids. Because puppies are much more playful and active than adult dogs, they need a higher calorie intake. Even if an adult dog and a puppy are the same size, they will have different dietary requirements.
Another major difference between dog and puppy foods are the texture, size, and solidity of the pellets. Puppies will find it difficult to consume pellets that is hard on their developing teeth and gums. It’s advised to soften puppy pellets with a replacement milk after puppies have been weaned from their mother. Adult dogs can chew hard bones and pellets.
Can Puppies Eat Regular Dog Food?
The straightforward answer to this question is ‘no’. Puppies can not eat adult dog food. From the age of 10 months (depending on the dog breed), puppies can gradually move on to adult dog food. Before they reach maturity, they need to receive the required nutrients and calories that puppy food contains.
If puppies are put on an adult dog diet before they reach adulthood, they will have the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies. Medical conditions due to wrong dietary intake can include bone deformities, rickets, degenerative muscle disease, reproductive failure, muscle underdevelopment, and vitamin deficiencies.
What About Mature Dogs?
It is important to mention that dogs who reach maturity (8+ years) also need to have an adapted diet. Mature dogs won’t be able to eat hard pellets either, and they will have to move on to senior dog pellets.
Mature dogs are way less active than puppies and adult dogs and won’t need such a high calorie-intake diet. A high fiber diet with a low-calorie intake is required to improve gastrointestinal health.
Treats for mature dogs should contain low-fat and low-sodium. Snacks should be soft and chewable. There are many senior dog treats available that contain special supplements to support joint, hip, and bladder care.
All dogs, no matter at what stage in life they are, should have access to plenty of fresh water. Owners should make sure that food bowls are kept clean.
As a dog owner, you should make sure you understand the dietary requirements of your four-legged friend. Consult your veterinarian to help you pick the correct dog food for your puppy, adult dog, and senior dog. Knowing the difference between puppy and adult dog food will help you make the right decision when purchasing dog food.