Dog Nutrition Requirements by Age

What you feed your dog and his dog nutrition requirements depend largely on their age. 

Dog Nutrition By Age

Just as the eating habits of an older adult are typically different from your eating habits as a toddler, teenager or young adult, dogs should eat different types and amounts of foods at different stages of their lives. This guide will help you quickly identify the current needs of your dog while giving you some insight into how those needs may change in the years to come.

Puppy Nutrition Requirements

A mother will typically start weaning her puppies off of her milk at approximately one month old. It can take a couple weeks for the puppies to fully switch from their mother’s milk to puppy food. If you have a puppy in your home, they are probably more than six weeks old, meaning they are able to eat without the assistance of their mother.

Healthy sources of fat and protein are the most important nutrients for puppies, though they still need carbohydrates for energy and lots of water. Fat and protein will help a puppy grow and develop the lean muscle they need to become healthy, fully-functional adult dogs.

You should find a puppy food that advertises compliance with the AAFCO feeding trials and feed your dog according to the packaged instructions for daily intake. Split the food in three or four feeding sessions throughout the day so that the puppy can refuel as they burn calories throughout the day.

Puppies will eat more food than most older dogs, so don’t be surprised if your puppy seems to eat a lot. It is no different than a human child going through growth spurts.

Adult Dog Nutrition Requirements

If you have a dog that is over one year of age, you should feed them a well-balanced adult dog food with adequate amounts of healthy fats and protein. Dogs get their energy from these nutrients, so they don’t need to load up on carbs to sustain energy levels during their active adult years. Study the ingredient labels when purchasing dog food and find a food that includes real food sources, primarily high-quality proteins and fats.

How much your dog eats and the exact brand of food that is best for them will be determined by their lifestyle. Active breeds will burn more calories than sedentary breeds, which means they will need more food. Feeding a sedentary dog a large amount of food may lead to obesity which negatively affects their joints and leads to health problems. Consider your dog’s personality and daily routines as well as their size and breed when making the determination on how much they eat and how many feeding sessions you give them each day.

Elderly Dog Nutrition Requirements

When you start noticing your dog slowing down and they are getting older, you know it is time to wean them onto a new dog food and perhaps adjust the amount of food they receive and the times of day that they are permitted to eat.

Your older dog’s metabolism will naturally slow, and they may not move around as much as they did when younger. This means that they need fewer calories each day to avoid becoming overweight, but it doesn’t mean quality dog nutrition requirements matter less. They need healthy fats and proteins now more than ever before.

You may want to discuss your older dog’s diet with veterinarian. They will know all health risks or diagnosed conditions and can physically evaluate the health of your dog. This is what you need to determine the best nutrients for their lifestyle.

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