Healthy nutrition will lead to a healthy pet! Animals require change with age in the dietary composition. What is good for a growing, 9 month old pup or kitten may be detrimental to a 12 year old, senior, dog or cat. We believe in ‘the lifestage’ dietary concept and would encourage changing your pets food with their increasing age. Breed variation and life expectancy has to be taken into account; a Great Dane requires a different feeding schedule to a Yorkshire Terrier.
Puppies are normally weaned at between 5 and 8 weeks. We are always surprised at the number of ‘home’ made recipes’ that some breeders wish to use. Getting the correct balance of Calcium, Phosphorus and Vitamin D with utilisable protein and high energy availability is not easy and it is our opinion that feeding a complete, high quality, puppy food is easier, cheaper and healthier than trying to do it yourself.
A good guide for feeding a puppy is to let them eat their fill for 10 minutes, 4 times a day until 12 weeks, reducing to 3 times a day to 18 weeks and then twice daily. At six months the feeding should be dependent on exercise levels and the puppy weight.
The bones continue to grow and require puppy foods until 10 months old in a small breed to 18 months in a giant breed. Dogs which will have an adult weight of more than 30kg should be fed on a ‘Large Breed Puppy food’ as this has controlled nutrients to try and prevent excessive spurts of bone development which can lead to joint and bone problems.
Puppies become adults at differing times, depending on breed. It is probably preferable if not essential to change to an adult food of the same manufacturer. Quality is essential and there is no harm in adding a little food from your own dinner plates if it keeps your dog happy.
Dogs love vegetables and some even like fruit. These provide fibre, vitamins and flavour. Try to limit these ‘tit-bits’ to no more than 10% of diet. Depending on breed and exercise levels, many pets start to gain excessive weight, especially if they have been neutered.
Many dogs require a degree of calorie restriction and it is quite acceptable to feed most neutered dogs of two years and above on a ‘light diet’ which usually contains 10-15% less calories than the full blown adult ‘maintenance diet’.
‘Senior Diets’ have restricted but highly absorbable protein levels, good carbohydrate for energy and restriction on sodium and phosphorus to safeguard the heart. Many are adding glucosamine or chondroitin to help improve joint function and sunflower oils for better skin. This dietary change is important and will help safeguard your dogs future.
Hills Science Diet range is a top quality product which has optimal formulation for health. As the name suggests, enormous scientific research has gone into ensuring that the diets deliver the correct nutrients in a digestible manner to ensure good health.
They have recently launched their Nature’s Best range which continues on from the Science Diets but provides guaranteed natural additives in a formulation that dogs appear to love.
Burns, James Wellbeloved, Walthams Royal Canin, and Purina are all good diets which we could recommend.