Nov 17 , 2022
Do dogs need different diets at different ages? This is a question that most doggo owners have in mind because, as we all know, diet plays a very important role in preventing illnesses and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Unless your pup is born with birth defects or has congenital & inherited disorders, the simple answer is, yes. Generally, a healthy pup’s diet differs from an older dog’s diet.
Additionally, if an older dog has medical conditions, their diet must also be restricted and more intricate than healthy adult dogs.
Puppy vs. Adult Diet
A puppy’s diet needs more milk, calories, protein, fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids than older adults to support their growth. Then their diet gradually changes as they get older.
Pups also need more frequent feeding in a day compared to adult dogs since they are more active and are less likely to develop health illnesses that are related to weight issues such as obesity, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
Older dogs, on the other hand, need restricted protein intake because as they get older, their metabolism and digestion slow down. Other vital body functions become less efficient too, that’s why they need a more careful diet. If you’re usually feeding your dog two to three times a day during his younger years (8 hours of interval), you may need to feed him once or twice a day only as he gets older (12 hours of interval).
Feeding adult dogs too much food and too much protein can lead to overburden the renal structures and cause damaging filters in their kidneys. This is true especially when their immune and digestive systems are compromised due to various factors.
Older dogs need less food compared to puppies because their movements are lesser and they only have limited time energy. Pups are very active, that’s why they need to eat more and their bones and organs are still developing.
Dog Food Nutrition and Diet Guidelines at Each Life Stage
When pups are born until the next several weeks, they first get their nutrition from their mother’s milk. But if their mother is ill or if they are orphaned, commercial milk replacements are available as an alternative.
Vets will give you advice and guidelines on how to feed newborn pups, as well as how often you should feed them.
As pups reach three weeks of age, they can slowly digest dog foods (canned or kibbled). You can help your puppy learn the weaning stage by slowly removing them from their mother, and gradually feeding them wet dog food for easy digestion. You can do this once a day only. And remember, don’t force them to eat, and don’t stop giving them milk.
Once puppies have slowly transitioned to weaning, you can give them dog food twice a day. You can make your own homemade dog food, but make sure that all the ingredients are safe for your puppies and are easily digestible. Don’t feed them table scraps.
It’s also worth noting to put the essential nutrients in their food, such as fiber, calcium, and protein for their healthy growth. These can all be found in wet and dry dog foods.
Talk to their vet about the most appropriate diet for your pup so they can get the adequate daily nutrition needed.
This is also the stage where puppies enjoy the taste of their food and the sensations of chewing. With this, you can slightly moisten their kibbles or give them canned food for more comfortable chewing.
And an important note: there are puppy dog foods and adult dog foods. So make sure you’re giving them the right food for their age.
This is the stage where you can transition your dog from puppy dog food to adult dog food.
An adult dog’s diet and nutrition will always vary depending on their size and activity level. Thus, it is best recommended to talk to their vet (especially one that already knew your dog’s history since they were a pup), to make sure you’re not overfeeding or underfeeding your furry friend.
Adult dogs at this stage of life are already fully developed. The foods that they will eat play a vital role in terms of their healthy bodily maintenance. An extremely active doggo may have different nutritional needs than lap doggo since they will need more energy to sustain their activities.
Since adult dogs don’t need the exact same nutrients as newborn and young puppies, it’s necessary to feed them foods that are appropriate for their adult nutritional needs. Moreover, continue giving them supplements that are appropriate for their age.
Aged 7+ dogs
A dog aged 7 years old is roughly 49 years old in human years. Some doggo owners may have overlooked this segment of their dog’s life and think that all is the same. This stage of life is still considered your dog’s adult years, but there are major changes in their movement and activity.
This is the stage where your dog may move slower and play lesser. Due to this, they need more nutrients that contribute to better energy, as well as healthy muscles, bones, and organ maintenance. Vets will recommend diet, foods, and supplements that are specifically formulated to keep them young, healthy, and active.
Giving your dogs the proper nutrition at this age can help increase their mobility, interaction, and activity while boosting their immune and digestive systems as they age.
As your dog reaches their senior years, particularly when they are 11 years old, there will be changes in their mobility, digestion, metabolism, and immune system. This is also the stage where your dog’s emotions and senses change. They can also be more vulnerable to stress and are more sensitive to sound.
Take your dog to regular checkups to monitor their health and nutritional needs. They should also have lesser calorie intake during this stage of life, and their protein intake must be moderate.
Senior dogs need a proper diet to help maintain their normal body functions and to prevent age-related diseases.