When it comes to fulfilling the nutritional requirements for dogs, many people think that their pets can eat whatever they eat.
What if your fitness coach advised you to eat exactly what your neighbor eats? Not only would you question their credibility but you probably wouldn’t even follow the advice, right?
Did you know that about 8 out of every 10 dog owners think that there’s no difference between the nutrition for humans and dogs? Less than 10% of pup parents are actually aware of the key nutrients required by their dog. This explains why problems like obesity, liver disease, and other health issues are becoming increasingly common in dogs.
Different dogs have different dietary requirements. So, if you want to ensure that your pooch stays fit and active, keep in mind their age, breed, size, and lifestyle before selecting a meal for them.
The following info will help you develop a better understanding of the differences in nutritional needs of dogs of different age groups.
Puppies and Young Dogs
Puppies or dogs that are still in their early years need a nutrient-rich diet for healthy development and proper growth. Their meals must consist of a sufficient amount of protein as this is the primary requirement for building muscles and healthy bones and tissues. Young dogs that use lots of energy running here and there need loads of carbohydrates. This can be fulfilled by feeding them rice, chopped pieces of meat, as well as kibble.
Note that large breed puppies have a high risk of developing orthopedic diseases such as hip dysplasia. Feeding them a diet that contains relatively lower amounts of phosphorus and calcium is known to reduce the chances of these developmental diseases.
On the other hand, puppies of small dog breeds have a high metabolism and, therefore, need to be fed more frequently than large puppies. Failing to give them meals packed with calories at least three times a day can make them lethargic. This can result in weak growth and in extreme cases, seizures, tremors, and even death.
Arthritis is a common health issue in fully mature or senior dogs. Therefore, it is generally a good practice to shift old aged dogs to specially formulated diets. This is a good idea whether they show signs of arthritis or not. Such diets contain substances like glucosamine that improve joint health.
Also, you can switch your senior dog to a diet that is rich in fatty acids and, above all, omega-3 compounds. This is because omega-3 and dietary supplements such as chondroitin have anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, they enhance mobility and support the working of joints.
Since senior dogs are not as active as younger ones, you must keep a strict check on their salt and sugar intake. Pet feed or homemade meals containing a high amount of salt. Such an ingredient can lead to kidney problems and affect their cardiovascular health.
Try to incorporate some seaweed or kelp into your dog’s diet. These ingredients promote a healthy thyroid. Similarly, linseed might also be a good addition as it improves the function of various organs and helps maintain healthy fur.
While this information applies to all dogs in general, remember that every pooch is unique. Consult a vet or animal nutritionist to determine the exact dietary requirements for your dog.