Feeding your dog right at each lifestage
The first thing you need to do before considering your dog’s nutrition is to weigh him and evaluate his physical condition. Our Body Condition Score system can help you determine his condition at a glance, and together with his weight, it’ll give you a good guide on how to approach feeding.
If your dog’s still a pup, he’ll need a little more of everything. Increased levels of fat, protein, phosphorus, calcium, sodium and chloride support his growth spurts and help his rapid development. Once he’s almost at his adult size, you can switch him to an adult food – this usually happens after the first year, although you should consult your vet to determine the best course of action.
After your dog has reached adulthood, it’s time to think about feeding methods. Generally, there are three feeding methods, each of them suited to certain dogs and diets. Talk to your vet to pinpoint the best feeding method for your dog.
Free choice feeding means that food is readily available, and your dog can eat whenever he wants.
Time-limited feeding is when food is only laid out for your dog in a specific time interval.
Meal feeding sounds like what it is: your dog gets a predetermined amount of food at certain mealtimes, every day.
The type and amount of food should be determined together with your vet, after accounting for breed, age and activity level. A large-breed dog can gain a lot of weight from the feeding regime for a smaller breed, so make sure you’ve got the amounts right to prevent excess weight.
Finding a feeding regime that works for your dog and sticking to it can ensure his optimal health and wellbeing, and keep it that way for years to come.
Once he reaches a mature age, however, it’ll be time to re-evaluate his feeding. Mature dogs have very different nutritional needs from adult dogs, and overlooking these needs can lead to health complications. Remember that old dogs aren’t as mobile and need less fat in order to keep healthy – they cannot exercise to get rid of excess energy like younger dogs do.
Feeding your dog right at every lifestage can help the both of you get the most out of your time together.