Nutrition For Different Life Stages Of A Pet
Pets, like us, require different types of nutrition as they get older. Whether it's through their pet food, supplements or even treats, there are a number of ways you can provide your pet with the best nutrients for their life stage. Life stage doesn’t only refer to Puppies, Kittens and Senior pets, but also gestating and lactating pets too. Mothers require nutrition to support themselves and their babies. We’ll be going through the various nutritional requirements for each life stage of your pets.
Firstly, let’s look at the importance of Life-Stage nutrition. In order to ensure your pet is living its best life feeling happy and healthy, you need to consider what you’re feeding them. While younger pets may require nutrition for healthy development, older pets may require nutrition for health maintenance. Feeding an older dog food that is designed to be fed to puppies for example, may lead to a number of health complications due to the high amount or lack of proper nutrients.
What are the different life stages of cats and dogs?
Cats and dogs go through their lives constantly growing and maturing, like we do, but at a different pace.
For cats, they’re kittens from birth to 1 year old. Between the ages of 1-6 years old they’re in their young adult stage. From 7-10 years old they’re in their Mature Adult stage, and over 10 years old they reach the senior cats stage.
For dogs, they’re puppies from birth to 6 months old. From 6 months to 18 months old they’re in their adolescence stage. Their adult stage is from 18 months to 6 years old, and from 6 years old onwards they’re in their senior dog stage.
What are the nutritional requirements for each life stage?
Each life stage has different requirements when it comes to their nutritional intake. While some pet parents prefer to cook food for their pets, others simply think that cheap pet food is optimal, it all depends on your pet themselves. As a pet parent, the responsibility lies within you to inform yourself on your pets dietary and nutritional requirements.
Kittens & Puppies
Kittens & puppies require a higher content level of protein, fats, calories, calcium & digestible carbohydrates in order to help them develop healthily. Protein aids muscle growth in young pets. The younger the puppy or kitten, the higher the protein content requirements are, as they get older it will slowly decrease. The safest recommended protein intake on a dry matter basis for puppies is between 22-32% and for kittens it is 35-50%. Grain-Free diets offer high sources of protein for your pet, which is ideal for growing puppies and kittens. Fats and Calories are a source of energy for young puppies and kittens. Exceeding their energy and fat intake could lead to obesity in your young pet, and though some people find chubby cats and dogs adorable, it is actually very unhealthy for them. Calcium is vital for bone growth and development, which will benefit them as they get older, helping them stay strong.
There are a number of kitten and puppy options available in Dubai pet food brands. Royal Canin provides breed specific puppy food and kitten food which targets specific areas of development that may affect your dog or cat later in life. Another cat food and dog food brand available in Dubai online on our website is Hill's Science Plan, which like Royal Canin, provides options for both puppies and kittens that aids in their growth and development.
Pet food isn’t the only way to ensure your pet is receiving their necessary nutrients. Our pet shop also has a number of pet supplements and multivitamins available for puppies and kittens. For kittens, products such as Kit Cat Kitten Milk, Beaphar Junior Multivitamin Paste, & Beaphar Biotine for Kittens. Mobility supplements are also good sources of calcium and aid in healthy bone development.
Gestating & Lactating Mothers
If your pet is expecting little ones, they will require additional nutrients. Thankfully feeding them puppy or kitten food will help give them the nutritional diet they need. There are also dog foods and cat foods that are targeted towards both mothers and babies, giving both the necessary nutrients they require.
When are kittens & puppies weaned off of their mothers?
For kittens, they should begin weaning off their mothers milk and move to solid foods around 8 weeks old. For puppies, they can start the weaning process earlier than cats, around 3 to 4 weeks old they can slowly be moved onto solid foods.
Adult Cats & Dogs
Adult cats and dogs require the same nutrients as kittens and puppies; proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins & minerals, but at a moderate amount. Often pet parents are concerned about what the best pet food brand is to feed their pets. In order to ensure your pet is receiving all the vital nutrients to keep them healthy, the best option is to go with high end brands of pet food, like the ones we carry in our pet shop. The best pet food brand in Dubai is always up for debate, but brands such as Taste of the Wild offer a limited ingredient, grain-free, high protein foods that are full of vitamins, minerals and natural probiotics, guaranteeing a healthy cat or healthy dog when on this diet. Overfeeding is something to be weary of though, as it may lead to obesity which then in turn can lead to diabetic or cardiac issues. In order to ensure your pet is eating the correct amount of food, check the back of your pet food bag for a feeding guide, as many pet food brands offer a chart which provides information on how much food to feed your cat or dog daily, based on their current weight or weight goals.
Just because your pet is an adult doesn’t mean that supplements aren’t still useful! There are various products our pet shop stocks that offer that are geared towards keeping your pets healthy. My Beau has a range of supplements to suit your pet’s needs. Some breeds of cats or dogs may require certain nutritional supplements over others, which is why supplements such as these are ideal as they cover bone & joints, optics, hair and skin, and overall multivitamins.
Senior cats & dogs
As your pets reach their senior life stage, they will become more susceptible to kidney failure, liver disease, diabetes, cardiac diseases and hip dysplasia. This is the point of their life stage where their diets will need to be adjusted. The best way to know what your pet needs is to discuss it with your vet. Your cat or dog may need a complete change of diet, moving from adult pet food to senior pet food. Senior pet food has a lower protein content than that of puppy or kitten food, or adult pet food. This is to prevent any damage caused to the pet’s kidneys as a result of too much protein. In order to protect the heart’s condition, introduce a diet with much fewer calories. High fiber diets help dogs and cats battling with diabetes as well.
Royal Canin provides diets for Aging Cats and dogs of all sizes. These pet foods provide necessary nutrients for aging pets in order to help them stay healthy. Other brands that offer specialized diets for senior pets are Orijen, Lily's Kitchen, and Hill's Science Plan. Treats would have to also be reconsidered as many treats contain a high protein content too.
What are the signs that my pet’s are not receiving their necessary nutrients?
There are a number of symptoms that may indicate that your cat or dog is lacking vital nutrients, such as;
- Lethargy (lack of energy)
- Extreme weight loss or weight gain
- Fur loss or dry skin
- Frequently getting sick
- Bad breath or bad body odor
- Upset stomach or unusual flatulence
- Stunted growth
- Swollen gums
Regular check ups at a vet are also recommended, as they can inform you if your pet is heading in the right direction health-wise. They can also give the best advice on how to prevent nutrition deficiencies.
It is our responsibility to make sure our pets are living happy and healthy lives. In order to correctly care for them we need to be giving them only the best of the best when it comes to their diets, thus ensuring they’re receiving the necessary nutrients to grow up healthily. Thankfully, we carry some of the best pet food brands for all life stages, that are guaranteed to benefit your pet in a healthy way.