Skip to Content

I Accidentally Bought Senior Dog Food, Can I Feed It To A Young Dog?

With there being so many different types of dog food on the market these days with many of the packaging looking the same, it is very common that dog owners will accidentally purchase the wrong type of dog food for their pet.

This has resulted in a number of people accidentally buying senior dog food for a younger dog and worrying about if they are able to give their younger dog a food mix designed for senior dogs.

For the most part, the majority of the senior dog food mixes should be fine for a healthy adult or juvenile dog as well as most puppies.

The majority of dog foods that are marketed for use with senior dogs simply contain less calories, fat, protein, and sodium than a normal dog food but you’re able to top these up with most decent dog treats while your dog works its way through the senior dog food.

This can slightly change if you have a specialist senior dog food that has been designed for dogs with problems with their liver or kidneys but it is rare that you will accidentally purchase these food mixes as their packaging is usually very different from other types of dog food.

Due to the obvious differences in packaging, it is far more likely that our readers may have accidentally purchased a normal senior dog food rather than any with specialist ingredients.

Is It Bad If My Dog Eats Senior Dog Food?

Most dogs will be able to eat a senior dog food without issue no matter their age although the sodium, calories, fat, and protein that is usually lower in the senior dog food will have to be made up in their diet.

This is generally very easy due to there being so many dog treats on the market that contain these nutrients with peanut butter or cheese-based dog treats often being the best options.

A decent dog treat will allow you to quickly, easily, and cheaply increase the amount of calories, fat, and protein in your dog’s diet to bring it back up to normal levels and you are able to add a tiny bit of salt to your dog’s main meals to make up for the sodium.

This will keep your dogs diet nutritionally complete until you have fed your dog all of the food from the senior dog food product that you accidentally purchased and can then return it to its normal food mix.

Depending on your situation, it may be worth considering a tailor-made dog food product as they tend to meet all of the needs for your dog and help to keep your dog healthy. If you subscribe to their monthly subscription services, they can work out to be around the same price as some off the shelf dog food products too.

What’s Different About Normal Dog Food And Senior Dog Food?

The majority of senior dog food formulas simply contain less calories, protein, fat, and sodium in the food mix when compared to a food mix designed for younger dogs.

This is due to the lower activity rates of a senior dog and the dog not requiring as many calories in its diet so switching to a senior dog food is able to prevent a senior dog from gaining weight or having problems with excess sodium intake.

The majority of dog owners usually just stick to a regular dog food though with their senior dogs with there realistically being minimal differences in many areas between the two.

As we touched on earlier, more and more people are switching over to tailor-made dog foods for their dogs that will track their age and instantly optimize everything for you and ship the food directly to you each month.

There are some specific health conditions that can be more common in senior dogs, mainly involving their kidney or liver that may require specific ingredients in their food or specific ingredients not to be in their food.

There are some off the shelf senior dog food products for these conditions but they do tend to be more expensive than normal dog food while having unique packaging making it more obvious that you are purchasing the incorrect food if you intended to buy your normal dog food so it is less common that you will have to worry about these.

Should I Change Anything In My Dogs Diet While Feeding It Senior Dog Food?

You should try to supplement the calories, fat, and protein in your dog’s diet that will be lower if you are feeding your dog the senior dog food that you accidentally purchased.

Many people do also try to supplement the sodium that will be missing too but if you give your dog any human food treats then they are generally high in sodium anyway preventing the need to supplement it.

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to meet all of these requirements is to use a decent peanut butter dog treat as they are high in calories, fats, and protein but some cheese based dog treats can work well too.

Adding a small amount of salt to your dogs main meal can be enough to counter the lower sodium in the food mix too if needed but this is not essential.

You will have to have a quick think of how often you give your dog a treat of something that you are eating to workout if you should be supplementing the sodium loss or not.

Too much salt or sodium for your dog can cause issues and foods that you are eating but give your dog a little bit of are often high in sodium anyway preventing the need to supplement the lower sodium in senior dog food.


That brings our article going over what to do if you accidentally bought senior dog food. For the most part, you will be able to still feed your younger dog senior dog food without any issues. You can take the steps we covered above to counter the potential issues with lower calories, fat, and protein but for the most part, you probably won’t need to do anything to supplement the lower sodium in your dogs diet.