As dogs age from puppyhood to adulthood, their nutritional needs change so it’s important to feed your four-legged friend a complete and balanced diet specifically designed for its breed, age and activity level.
Not feeding your dog a correct diet throughout all stages of its life can cause serious health problems to develop, such as growth deformities in puppies and obesity in later years. With such a variety of pet food available nowadays, it can be challenging to choose one that is appropriate for your dog, so best to consult your veterinarian for advice.
To give your dog the best start in life, you need to consider many factors when deciding the best diet. Puppies require more protein, calories, calcium and phosphorus (in specific ratios) in their diet than adult dogs to support growth and maturation.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also vital in brain and vision development. The diet also needs to support the size of dog the puppies will develop into.
Depending on the breed, your pooch reaches adulthood between the age of one to three years and will then require fewer calories and less protein and calcium as they are no longer growing. Feeding an appropriate diet for the breed, age and activity of an adult is important.
For instance, active breeds have a different dietary requirement to those that do not exercise enough or even dogs that are pregnant or nursing. Maintaining your dog’s weight is also vital as being overweight can cause a number of health problems associated with obesity. Breeds prone to obesity are recommended a diet restricted in fats and calories.
Generally by the age of seven, dogs are ready for a change of pace and therefore have decreased calorie requirements to meet their decreased energy levels and maintain a healthy weight. Their diet needs to contain controlled levels of energy, phosphorus, protein and salt, as well as high amounts of antioxidants to help slow down the ageing process.
Senior dogs also need the necessary dietary support for the management of various ailments they may suffer from, such as dental disease, arthritis and kidney disease. Your vet can prescribe a special diet best for your ageing pooch.