How the Dietary Needs of Puppies and Senior Dogs Differ
While you know that puppies and senior dogs are a great deal different, and have different needs as a result, you might not know exactly how their nutritional needs vary.
Many dog foods are manufactured to a specific age group, and the nutrients they contain are designed to accommodate a dog’s changing metabolism and activity level. Chef’s Best Pet food is designed to support your dog’s health at any age, making it easier for you to ensure your dog is getting the nutrition he needs at any age.
What a Puppy Should Eat
You know how fast a puppy grows. It seems like he sprouts overnight. As a result, this is a critically important time to make sure he has the right nutrients in order to make a healthy transition to adulthood. Foods designed for puppies typically have a great deal of protein in order to make sure their muscles and bones develop properly. Experts usually recommend that puppies get their protein not from plants but rather animal meat. The reason is that pups’ bodies do a better job of metabolizing meat-based protein.1 You’ll see the main source of the protein on the label – it should be listed at the top, or no later than the second ingredient.
In addition, puppy food should also be high in calories in order to support their ever-increasing need for energy. You probably know all too well how puppies tend to bounce around the room because they’re so active – calories help ensure they can maintain that activity level.
The best foods for puppies will not only contain meat protein as the No. 1 or No. 2 ingredient, but also complex carbohydrates that come from barley, oats or rice. In addition, they should also include plant-based minerals and vitamins.
How Much Should You Give Your Puppy?
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), puppies have to take in as much as two times the energy that adult dogs need.2 Their food, according to the ASPCA, should have anywhere from 25-30 percent protein.
But you have to be very careful regarding how much food you give your pup. If you give him too much, he’ll be taking in too many calories. He’ll grow too fast as a result and be at a high risk for a host of health issues. This is especially the case if you have a medium or large breed dog. Talk to your veterinarian and he or she can give you a specific idea of how much food your puppy should eat per day.
Taking Care of Your Senior Dog’s Nutritional Needs
At the other end of the age spectrum, senior dogs are typically much less active than their younger counterparts. As a result, you have to really watch how much food you give him because it won’t take much to make him overweight. They typically don’t have to eat as much because their metabolism has slowed. Foods for senior dogs usually have fewer calories but more fiber, which helps prevent constipation and helps ensure their gastrointestinal system continues to work smoothly.
Many foods for senior dogs also contain ingredients that help support joint health, reducing the chances they’ll develop problems such as hip dysplasia or arthritis. The better the joints remain lubricated, the better a senior dog’s mobility will be.
The age where a dog will need to transition from adult to senior food will vary depending on breed and size. In general, larger dogs who weigh 91 pounds or more will usually transition to a senior diet by around the age of 5. Dogs between 51-90 pounds will start a senior diet when they turn 6, while dogs 20-50 pounds should begin eating senior food at the age of 7.3 But these are just general guidelines – talk to your vet before you change your dog’s diet.
Chef’s Best Pet food is designed to support your dog’s health at any age. It contains a mixture of meats (including beef, chicken, bison, elk and venison) and vegetables (including spinach and squash), and also includes fruits such as apples, plums, pears and apricots – providing the highest quality of nutrition available. Chef’s Best Pet Food offers all of the nutrition of a home-cooked meal without any of the hassle. Try some today and see the incredible difference it can make for your pet, whether he’s a puppy, an adult or a senior dog.