Dog Nutrition Tips Every Dog Lover Should Know
You know good nutrition is essential for everyone but sometimes it gets confusing. Should your dog eat grain or raw meat? Does your pet have food sensitivity? What about dairy?
However, you know every dog needs a balanced diet for optimal health. Your dog’s body absorbs nutrients from the food he eats. Those nutrients provide energy and contribute to muscle growth and overall well-being.
Plus, your pet’s nutritional needs change throughout his or her life. For example, you probably know that puppies have different nutrition needs than older dogs. It makes sense doesn’t it? One is growing and energetic and the other one has completed his growth.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you felt fully informed and aware of your dog’s needs throughout his life? You’d be able to ask your veterinarian better questions during your annual visits and you’d recognize symptoms of more serious concerns BEFORE they become a real problem.
Here Are The Top Dog Nutrition Tips You Need To Know:
No matter their age or lifestyle, every dog needs a certain amount of protein, carbs and “healthy” fats like omega 3’s. Omega 3’s contribute to joint health at every age and they boost mental faculties and eyesight. Dogs also need calcium, phosphorous and other vitamins and minerals.
Yet, the amounts of these requirements change throughout their lives. There are three distinct phases of life dogs go through.
Puppy Nutrition Requirements
When your pup is first born, he’ll get the nutrients he needs from his mom’s milk. But by 3-5 weeks of age, puppies are usually ready to start eating puppy food.
And puppies are different. They have higher calorie needs than adult and senior dogs because they’re still growing. They need a higher percentage of everything to grow into healthy adults.
Why puppy food is different from adult food.
Puppies need a ton of nutrients to feed their growing bodies and they can even be at a nutritional deficient if they eat foods designed for adults.
For example, the American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) says the minimum protein needs for puppies are 22% vs 18% for adult dogs. For fats, it’s 8% vs. 5%.
These percentages are based on the overall food and the label will tell you how much of protein or fat is in it.
Now you may be thinking, it’s only a 4% difference (or 3% in the case of fats), does it really matter?
Well, yes, it does. Think of it this way, if your bank gave you 4% interest vs. 8% that’s double your interest rate. If you have $1000 in your account, that’s the difference of $40 vs. $80.
Here’s what it can mean for your dog.
Nutritional deficient can lead to growth problems. Specifically orthopedic problems — especially if you have a large breed dog like a Great Dane. Large breed dogs are particularly susceptible to hip dysplasia and other developmental concerns.
Large breed pups actually should eat foods designed for large breed puppies as their bodies have lower fat calcium needs than smaller breeds.
What Dog Nutrition Tips Work for Adult Dogs?
Once a dog starts to reach his adult height it’s time to transition to adult food. He’s completed his growth cycle and his nutrition needs now depend on his activity level.
Depending on the size of your breed, you’ll find this can vary anywhere from 6-8 months to 24 months. Of course, once your dog does transition to adult food, how much of that you’ll need (and what type) will depend heavily on your pet’s breed and lifestyle.
A working Border Collie spending hours every day in the field herding sheep as higher caloric needs then a couch potato beagle. Size matters too of course. A Chihuahua has different nutritional needs than a Newfoundland.
If you have a medium size dog at a healthy weight who gets a modest amount of exercise – say 30 minutes a day, your dog probably needs 20-25 kg per day to maintain.
If your dog is recovering from surgery or otherwise has health concerns, please consult with your veterinarian about recommendations.
What about Senior Dogs?
Vets say, 10-12 year old average size dogs are considered “senior.” Larger dogs age quicker and can be considered senior as early as 7.
Like people, as dogs age, they lose muscle mass and often develop arthritis. They may move slower and have less energy.
If you have a healthy senior dog, you’ll want to move to feeding a senior diet that’s lower in calories to avoid weight gain. When dogs gain weight, it can make their joints ache even more and lead to diseases like diabetes. You’ll also want to make sure your pet has high levels of Vitamin E and beta-carotene and be sure you’re feeding plenty of omega 3’s to ensure your pet is able to maintain a supple coat, good eyesight and healthy joints.
Most healthy dogs of all ages can enjoy omega rich Premium Kangaroo Fillets. They’re high in protein and free range. Plus, since there’s no filler of any type, you know exactly what you’re getting. There’s no risk of contamination like other treats…
These treats are made of human grade kangaroo meat with your dog’s safety in mind. They’re even good for cleaning teeth.
Every dog lover wants to feed their dog healthy dog treats – not candy.