Our diets are a reflection of the food and nutrition that we consume on a daily basis. Have you ever eaten a greasy burger and paid for it later? On the other hand, when you eat a healthy breakfast, do you feel better about yourself throughout the day? The choices that we make contribute to our weight, our energy level and our health. The same is for your pet, but they don’t have the option of making those choices: they rely on you.
As a pet owner, your pets rely on the decisions that you make to fill their bowls with nutritious meals. If your pet has just crossed a milestone age in his or her life, it’s time to consider the best food to meet their body’s specific needs for the next stage in life. This is called life stage feeding and Butte Orville Veterinary Hospital encourages all of our clients to consider life stage feeding and using our stocked pantry to choose food that best suits their pets.
Here are the life stages that mark when it’s time to consult your veterinarian and consider switching to the next level:
Foods for growing dogs have more protein, fat, calcium and sodium than the amounts found in adult foods, which help support growth in puppies and aide in development. Most veterinarians recommend switching from puppy food to adult food once they are about 80 percent of their adult weight – or until they are a year old.
Big dogs, however, might need to be adjusted earlier and many might need to have special puppy food. The larger breeds, think Great Danes, have larger bones and need higher levels of certain nutrients. Talk to your veterinarian to see if your large dog should be on a specific food.
- Adult Dog
This is the most popular type of food considering that most dogs require this variation for the majority of their lives. The adult stage in the life stage cycle usually lasts from 1 year to about 8 years depending on the dog and his or her health. However, there are important variations here too, such as pregnancy diets, obesity or weight management diets and even diets of specific health concerns.
- Senior Dog
Just like people, all dogs start slowing down at different times in their lives, and your vet can help you determine when the best time to incorporate a more mature dog food into your pet’s diet should be. For most medium-sized dogs, the switch will be made around eight years old while for larger dogs, the recommended switch is between five and six years. What’s the difference? Senior options do contain less fats to prevent weight gain as your pet has a harder time moving around, increased antioxidants and moderate levels of proteins to avoid kidney problems down the road.
The idea of life stage wellness remains a relatively modern concept today in veterinary medicine, but at Butte Oroville we adopted early and have already seen the positive effects of these tailored diets! Older dogs are in better shape, adult pets are more active and puppies are developing in a well-rounded fashion.
We are fortunate to have the tools available to us to help our pets live longer, healthier lives. So talk to a staff member today about the options for your pet!