When strolling the pet food aisles, the choices can be overwhelming. There are many different selections available. You can choose food for puppies or kittens, seniors, active pets, and overweight pets. So when choosing the best food for your furry friend, take into consideration their specific nutritional needs. Cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements. The age and breed of your pet are also factors.
As pets age from adolescence to adults to seniors, their nutritional requirements change right along with them. The different stages of their lives need different foods. Feeding your pet according to their age is considered a life stage diet. This type of diet plan was designed to provide pets with optimal nutrition. Getting the correct food at the right time will keep your pet happy, active, and healthy.
The Needs of Young Pets
A puppy’s nutritional needs vary depending on the breed of the dog. Puppies have a lot more energy than adults so they need extra protein and calories.
Kittens cannot eat much at one time. They have very tiny mouths and digestive systems. Due to the small size of their digestive system, it is recommended that you leave food available for them at all times. Only feed them easily digestible food.
The Teen/Adult Years
For large dog breeds, you should switch out puppy food for an adult formula around 2 years of age. For smaller dog breeds you should make the switch around the 1 year mark. The breed and activity level of your dog will determine what nutritional requirements they need. Some dogs need to be on special diets because of medical reasons, but for most dogs, they should be fed dry food to help keep their teeth clean. They need animal-based protein for their muscles, fiber for digestion, minerals and vitamins for their immune system, fish oil for healthy fur and skin and grains for energy.
You should begin feeding your cat adult food around 9 months old. Start by slowly mixing the kitten food with adult food, gradually add more adult food and less kitten food. To avoid overfeeding, only leave food out at breakfast and dinner. You can mix dry food with wet food for a balanced diet. An adult cat’s diet should consist of essential fatty acids for their fur and skin, taurine for their eyes, vitamin A for organ function, and niacin for growth.
The Senior Years
During the last third of your dog’s life, they are considered seniors. This time frame varies depending on the size and breed of your dog. Senior dogs do not need to consume the same amount of calories, fiber, fat, or protein as they did when they were younger. If you continue to feed them the same diet as you did when they were younger, they are more likely to become obese and experience kidney failure.
Senior cats still need a high protein diet because they usually continue to be active, but as they get older, they have a harder time digesting fat. The food that you provide needs to have more digestible fats. Senior cats should also eat more canned foods. This is because of dental and health issues.
Many pets will develop age-related health issues. Always speak with your veterinarian about your pet’s special needs. They will be able to advise you on the correct diet. They will know what types of food and supplements you should be giving your little friend.
Learn More About Our Services
At Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency, our goal is to keep your pet healthy. We pride ourselves on the professional care we give every pet that comes through the door. Most of our patients are dogs and cats, but we offer care to almost any animal.
Call us today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment. We do take walk-ins, but to avoid waiting, we suggest that you call ahead. You can reach our office at 805-306-0633 or come visit us at 1376 Erringer Road, Simi Valley. We treat clients from all areas including Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and areas near Ventura County.
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