Nutritional Needs By Life Stage in Dogs
Nutritional needs for dogs vary based on which stage of life they are in. These life stages include growth, adulthood, senior care, and gestation/lactation for reproducing females. Utilizing a diet that is complete and balanced for a specific life stage is important to help reduce the incidence of nutritional problems.
When puppies are growing, they require more calories, protein, fat, and higher levels of vitamins and minerals than adult dogs. Follow the Pet Wants Feeding Guidelines if you’re using a Pet Wants All Life Stage Recipe. Puppies need nutrients for their daily activities in addition to nutrients to allow for tissue growth and development. Puppies need a diet formulated for growth until they are 12 months of age. Large and giant breed puppies require a Pet Wants Puppy Formula designed for large-breed puppy growth since feeding a diet appropriate for large-breed growth helps prevent orthopedic issues, obesity, and other problems. Puppies are considered large breed if their adult weight will be more than 50 pounds.
Pet Wants Growth and Pet Wants Puppy Diets are formulated to contain:
- Higher levels of calories
- Higher levels of protein
- Fatty acids such as DHA to support brain and vision development
- Optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus for proper bone growth
- Antioxidants to support the developing immune system
A puppy’s stomach is too small to hold enough food in a single feeding to provide its daily requirement of needed nutrients.
- Young puppies should be fed at least three times a day until their food requirements, per pound of body weight, begin to level off
- Depending on breed size, feedings can be reduced to twice a day when puppies are 4 to 5 months old
Puppies that are fed a Pet Wants complete and balanced diet do not need supplemental vitamins, minerals, or protein. Supplementation may cause a nutritional imbalance and interfere with the normal development of growing puppies.
- A Pet Wants diet that is highly digestible, combined with high caloric density, reduces the volume of food required to deliver the needed nutrients to puppies
- By eating a highly digestible Pet Wants diet, the puppy receives proper levels of nutrients in smaller quantities of food, thus reducing the likelihood of digestive upset and a pot-belly appearance
Controlling caloric intake during growth and feeding to promote a lean and well-muscled body type supports a moderate and not excessive rate of growth and helps prevent overweight conditions and developmental skeletal disorders.
Young and Middle Age
Young adult and middle-aged dogs (less than five to eight years of age), if healthy, require moderate amounts of most nutrients, including calories, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. If a dog in this life stage is healthy, a diet formulated for adult maintenance is ideal for optimal nutritional value of its food. This would include Pet Wants Chicken and Brown Rice, Salmon and Brown Rice, Lamb and Brown Rice, Grain Free Chicken and Turkey and Grain Free Whitefish and Duck.
After a dog is fully grown, it is classified as an adult and enters the maintenance period of life. Different breed sizes reach adult size and maturity at different times.
Pet Wants Adult Maintenance Recipes:
- Provide complete and balanced nutrition
- Contain high-quality ingredients
- Are highly digestible
Feeding a Pet Wants Adult Maintenance Recipe is important to ensure:
- Healthy skin and coat
- Healthy digestion
- Optimal immune function
Nutrition for Adult Dogs
Healthy adult dogs that are not pregnant, nursing, or hard-working have lower nutritional requirements for maintaining appropriate body condition compared to puppies. A Pet Wants Adult Maintenance Recipe will contain:
- High quality protein
- Preferred energy source
- Highly digestible ingredients
- Appropriate energy density
- Antioxidants to support a strong immune system
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to help keep the skin health and the coat shine
- Plus, it helps maintain lean body mass
Senior dogs tend to be less active than their younger counterparts, but energy requirements can be higher or lower than young to middle-aged animals, depending on the age and the presence or absence of disease. In general, animals with chronic diseases require more calories to maintain their weight. Healthy senior animals may require increased dietary protein to help maintain lean muscle mass. However, the presence of disease can alter ideal nutrient requirements. Pet Wants Less Active/Senior Formula is an ideal diet.
The average canine life span is 13 years. The age at which dogs are considered senior varies according to breed size.
Most dogs at 7 years of age are still very fit and active and are showing few external signs that they are ageing. However, internally, changes start to occur due to the ageing process.
- This can make it difficult to convince owners of senior dogs to switch to a Pet Wants Senior Dog Formula
- The onset of old age and signs of ageing vary with size and between individual dogs
Signs of ageing in senior dogs:
- Changes in metabolism
- Reduced metabolic rate. Energy required to perform vital body functions.
- Change in activity level
- Reduced mobility including joint problems such as Stiffness, less able to jump and walk up the stairs
- Change in body condition
- Decreased lean muscle mass
- Possible weight gain
- Changes in skin and coat
- Changes in immune function, which makes it less efficient
- Changes in digestive system
- Reduced ability to digest and absorb nutrients
- Changes in brain function including eating and drinking and other behavioral changes.
- Changes in sensory functions such as vision, hearing, taste
- Change in functional capacity of organs, which makes it less efficient
- Change in oral health
The primary objectives for feeding senior dogs are to:
- Support optimal health and body condition
- Slow or prevent the development of chronic disease
- Manage signs of any disease already present
- Support optimal organ function
Although some dogs remain active and athletic throughout their lives and continue to have high energy requirements, most senior dogs need less food to maintain an ideal body condition because:
- Physical activity decreases
- Metabolic rate or the energy required to perform vital body functions decreases
Nutrition for Senior Dogs. Pet Wants Senior Formula contains:
- High quality protein to calories ratio to avoid protein loss in tissue
- Decreased in fat levels compared to Adult Recipes to maintain healthy body condition
- Enhanced levels of antioxidants to support declining immune system
- Highly digestible nutrients to support the ageing digestive system
- Adapted energy levels to maintain an ideal body conditions and support joint health
- Adequate levels of omega 3 fatty acids to support joint junction
Reproducing females (either pregnant or lactating) require a diet formulated for gestation/lactation. Pet Wants Chicken and Brown Rice, Salmon and Brown Rice, Lamb and Brown Rice, Grain Free Chicken and Turkey and Grain Free Whitefish and Duck Formulas are all formulated for reproduction in addition to being a preferred formulation for growth of a puppy. Puppy food should be started mid-way through pregnancy.