Dogs Need Different Diets At Different Ages

As a dog ages, his dietary needs change and the conscientious pet owner must adapt feeding schedules accordingly. The milk a puppy depends on is clearly not sufficient for an adult dog, and while dietary needs stay relatively the same throughout later life, some adjustments are necessary.

Puppies need large amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates to fuel their energetic, on-the-go playfulness. Because of this requirement, puppies need more frequent feedings in a day – generally, four feedings per day is the norm. Four smaller feedings ensures that your puppy’s tiny tummy isn’t stretched out by the amount of food he needs to eat. Instead, the food your puppy requires is spread out during the span of a day.

Dog nutritionists once recommended that older dogs be fed a low-protein diet to lessen the strain on their aging kidneys. However, recent studies show that such a low-protein diet may actually cause wasting in the older dog’s muscles – thus, older dogs should be fed kibble with the same protein content as younger dogs. As the liver ages, it may not be as efficient in producing GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid. Likewise, antioxidants that eliminate free-radicals and slow the aging process such as beta-carotene and vitamin E may be lacking in older dogs. These should be added to the formula of an older dog’s food to keep your aging dog in optimal health.

Pregnant dogs have feeding requirements much the same as other adult dogs, and owners should be careful not to overfeed a pregnant animal. During the last weeks of pregnancy, a dog’s food intake should be increased 25-30% from her normal amounts of food, and it is wise to start her on a kibble specifically for pregnant/lactating dogs. Many veterinarians will suggest feeding puppy-formulated food to a lactating dog, as it will provide her with the extra protein she’ll need to sustain both herself as well as her new little bundles of joy!

The experienced staff at Bow Meow Pet Care Centre would be pleased to help you select a brand or formula of dog food best suited to your dog’s specific needs. Come in and find out what kind would work best for your furry friend.

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