A Healthy Dog’s Nutritional Needs Change Over Time – Are You Feeding Your Dog Correctly For His Age?
The idea that healthy dogs need different diets isn’t always apparent to some dog owners. They think that one food fits all, but that’s not true.
At different stages of life, your dog needs a different diet. It has nothing to do with whether you have a healthy dog or a dog with certain needs. It has to do with changes in the dog’s growth patterns and lifestyle.
A puppy needs milk as the major food choice because he is building strong bones, just like a human child does in early life. As your puppy grows to adulthood, his diet must include foods that provide energy. These might be beef or chicken, in addition to a boiled egg and milk.
Puppies need greater amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates than adult dogs. Puppies also require a more frequent feeding schedule to replenish the nutrition that they use up from all that growing and bone-building. Between their growing and their activeness, puppies use up their nutrients much quicker than an older dog. These lost nutrients must be replenished regularly to ensure they stay healthy.
Nursing mothers need to receive enough calcium to avoid calcium deficiency and to ensure the puppies grow strong. With insufficient calcium, puppies’ bones will curve, causing problems later on.
It’s important not to overfeed a pregnant dog because the extra fullness in her stomach area will cause discomfort. Regardless, the mother-to-be and the nursing mother both need special food to ensure they have balanced nutrition, which can include proper vitamin and mineral supplementation.
Senior dogs require easily-digestible protein that the body can assimilate easily. Too much protein can over-burden the renal system which can damage the kidneys, so it’s important to cut back on the quantity but not the quality of protein an older dog receives.
Elder dogs that are no longer as active as they once were require less food yet they still need sufficient nutritious food to ensure their immune system remains strong.
When your dog goes through the various stages of life, it’s important to pay attention to the dog’s nutritional needs according to his age. But you also must adapt the feeding schedule to your particular dog. All dogs do not grow old at the same age. Some dogs are significantly more active and healthy in old age than others.
If your dog is sedentary in old age, then it will be necessary to adapt his diet accordingly. If your dog remains very active, keep in mind that he’s using up energy that will need to be replenished.
The best way to ensure your dog receives the correct nutritional diet is to talk to your veterinarian. He or she will be able to tell you how healthy your dog is and whether dietary adjustments are necessary.