The nutritional needs of your four-legged friend can vary quite significantly throughout their life, from puppy to adult to senior dog. You may have noticed the dietary options available for these life stages and wondered if there is much difference between them. Well, the answer is: yes. And here’s why.
The body of a growing dog requires more protein, fat and certain minerals than adult dogs (for example, omega-3 fatty acids are vital for healthy brain and eye development).
Because puppies require greater quantities, feeding them a diet without the proper amount can cause nutritional deficiencies which can lead to more serious problems later in their life.
Some brands of food (such as ADVANCE & ROYAL CANIN) also offer a large puppy option, which will provide lower amounts of fat, and more carefully measured levels of calcium and phosphorus to prevent the risk of orthopaedic diseases like hip or elbow dysplasia.
Another vast difference between puppy and adult food is the caloric content. Puppies require a higher caloric input because their growth and development takes a lot of energy to sustain. If an adult dog is put on puppy food it is most likely that they will experience weight gain as adult foods are significantly lower in fat and calories.
SWITCHING TO ADULT FOOD
Switching your puppy over to adult pet food is typically done when they reach around 80% of their expected growth. Because this happens at different times for different breeds it is important to speak to your vet about the best time to make the switch.
Smaller dogs tend to be the first to reach this point, typically around 9-10 months old. Smaller dogs include Chihuahuas, Maltese, Miniature and toy breeds. Medium sized dogs are closer to 12 months, and include Beagles, Spaniels and small Staffies. Large and giant breeds, like Border Collies, German Shepherds and Great Danes, are between 12-16 months of age.
Giving the proper diet to your puppy will ensure your furry friend is on the right path for a healthy and happy life.
DISCLAIMER: The advice given in this article is of a general nature. Pet Guardians Australia recommends a health check with your local vet at least once a year for advice pertaining to your pet's individual circumstances.