It’s no secret that all dogs are adorable little nuggets who deserve all the love and joy in the world, but not all dogs are the same. They come in all different breeds and shapes and sizes, and they all require different kinds of nutrition.
Age plays a big part in the type of food a dog should be eating, too. Just like you would give a baby special infant formula, you should feed a puppy food formulated for its growing needs. As dogs grow, their nutritional needs and recommended caloric intakes change.
Here’s what to know about your pooch’s dietary needs through all stages of life.
Dogs grow at a fast rate when they’re puppies, so they precise amounts of nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D (which will help them grow healthy bones and teeth) and zinc (which will keep their skin healthy and their immune system healthy). Because puppies tend are more active than adult and senior dogs, they need more calories, too.
After the weaning stage is over, after about 8-10 weeks, you’ll need to find a food designed specifically for puppies, and feed your pooch three times a day until they reach six months, then twice a day after that. This will keep the pupper healthy and full of energy, so they can chew up your shoes and get hair all over the couch (and get away with it because they’re so darn cute).
Once your dog reaches adulthood — at around a year old for smaller dogs and 18-24 months for bigger ones — it’s time to kick them out and tell them to get a job. Not really — it’s just time to move them to adult food! Puppy food has more calories in it and could lead to your pooch gaining too much weight if you overfeed them. A formula geared specifically toward adult dogs will hit that Goldilocks-style “this amount of calories is just right” sweet spot.
Your adult dog’s food should also include a proper balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Any formula worth its salt will include things like vitamin A for healthy vision; omega-3 fatty acids for good immune systems; and calcium and phosphorous for healthy bones, to name a few.
Once your pet enters the latter stages of life and becomes a senior, they may become less active so you need to watch their weight. They’ll also need foods rich in nutrients like fiber (to keep their poop healthy!) and may need formulas aimed to supporting healthy joints and a proper weight level.
Keep in mind, the age your dog becomes a senior depends on the dog size. If you have a smaller dog, they won’t hit those golden years until later in their life than a larger dog will.
Pregnant (and Recently Pregnant) Pooches
If your pup’s getting ready to be a mama, she could be eating for herself and multiple puppies, so you’ll have to make sure she’s getting lots of calories and nutrients — like the kind found in gestation formulas or formulas made for all life stages. These formulas have higher levels of nutrients in them to support both the mama and the growing puppies she has inside. This is even more important for lactating or nursing dogs, since still using even more of her body’s energy and resources to feed puppies.
Why a personalized nutrition plan?
With the help of pet nutrition experts, Puppo offers personalized plans that you can update as your pooch grows and changes. You can have one formula designed for the puppy years, when your dog will need all those extra calories and nutrients; another designed for adulthood; and another designed for the senior years, when your doggo might be more prone to health issues.
Puppo will calculate the right type of food based on your dog’s breed, age, and activity level so you don’t have to. Rather than worrying about figuring out what kind of food your pooch needs, you can spend time walking them, playing with them, and telling them what a good doggo they are. Find out what should be in your pup's personalized food recommendation with the simple Puppo quiz.