Puppy Food vs Adult Food: What is the Difference?

Puppy Food vs Adult Food. Understanding the difference between the two will ensure your puppy gets the best nutrition possible.

Luckily for you, we geek out over dog food (both puppy and adult).

As you know, your puppies skin is growing and thickening and a very quick rate.

Due to this it is important to pick a puppy food contains the right amount of Omega 3 fatty acids.

This is one of many reason’s why it’s important to feed your puppy (less than 12 months) a puppy specific food, as the nutritional requirements are quite different to that of an adult dog.

Let’s take a look at the main differences between the two types of food.

Puppy Food Vs Adult Food

Puppies are growing fast.

This includes their bones, skin and even their brains (sometimes it might not seem so).

Each requiring a different set of nutrients help aid in their development.

A well designed puppy food will provide the perfect balance of calories, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals to ensure your puppy gets everything they need for healthy development.

For example, their growing bones will require additional calcium which you’ll find in most, if not all, puppy foods.

Their growing and expanding skin will require additional omega-3 fatty acids.

Most importantly their brains will require a higher level of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) to ensure they develop properly.

Did you know a dogs brain is 60% fat and 30% DHA? This makes picking the perfect puppy food pretty important.

While an adult dog can get away with a little less DHA in their diet, puppies really do need that extra boost for proper brain development.

To recap here are the main differences between puppy food and adult food:

  • Kibble size – The size of the puppy food kibble is smaller than adult food as puppies have smaller mouths and teeth.
  • Protein levels – Puppies need more protein than adults as they are growing muscle.
  • Fat levels – Puppies need more fat than adults as they are growing skin.
  • Vitamin and mineral levels – Puppies need more vitamins and minerals than adults as they are growing bones.

Specifically protien, fat, vitamins and minerals play an important role in a puppies development and growth.

What about Food for All Life Stages? Are they Safe For Puppies?

Oh the minutiae of pet food labeling.

In the wild, a pup ate the same food as their mother and litter mates.

As soon as they were weaned, they began to eat what the pack ate.

As long as the “All Life Stage” food meets the nutrutional requirements for Omega 3’s, minerals and calories for a growing pup, then it is an appropiate food.


Is it OK to give a Puppy Regular Dog Food? – Typically puppy foods will have a denser calorie content to help them grow. A higher quality puppy food also tends to be more nutrient dense. For puppies we recommend finding a puppy specific food or an all life stages food that meets their needs.

When should I switch my Puppy to Adult Food? – Switching your dog from puppy food to adult food is a process that should be done gradually. This transition process starts when the dog is roughly 6 to 12 months old, depending on their size and breed. Feeding a dog puppy food for too long may leave you with a chubby dog as an adult.

Can A Puppy Eat Senior Dog Food? – A senior dog will have even fewer calories per serving than an adult food. For this reason, we recommend avoiding senior foods for puppies altogether.


Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, which is why it’s important to feed them puppy food rather than adult food.

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