Part Two: Life Stages and Nutrition
WOW! That first part was really wordy! Let’s see if we can breakdown this next section into something easier to read!!
Part two addresses the different stages of a pet life cycle and nutrition. This means from puppy to seniors and everywhere in between where illness can creep in.
- Different nutrient profiles are required for your individual dog and will vary depending on many factors.
The factors that effect an animals required nutrients and caloric intake are things like age, reproductive status, lifestyle, overall health, activity and others environmental factors.
So ask yourself the following questions when determining what and how much to feed your pet:
- Is your pet a puppy?
- Are they nursing mothers?
- Is your pet a senior?
- What is the outside temp? Is it cold? Is it hot?
- Are they recovering from surgery or suffering from a disease?
- Is your pet on a maintenance diet or are they overweight and counting calories?
- Is your dog a working dog?
- How much exercise will your pet get?
- Is your pet a large or giant breed?
Once you have answered the questions above, consult with your veterinarian so they can make recommendations on the food types and amounts that can provide the best possible nutrition for your pet.
According to Royal Canine, there are four goals of nutrition. They focus on science and put your pet at the center of the formulation process, using selected ingredients to optimize the nutritional content in food. The four goals are as follows:
- Body development and maintenance:Amino acids, minerals, vitamins and fatty acids meet the basic nutrition requirements for healthy physical development and maintenance.
- Energy provision:Protein, carbohydrates and fat provide energy to cats and dogs.
- Prevention:The best antioxidants, prebiotics, fiber and essential fatty acids help address kidney issues, digestive problems, the effects of aging and other common health issues.
- Special care: Very specific nutrients can be limited or added in certain formulations in order to help cats and dogs recover from particular health issues.
Monitor your pets health, watch their weight, look at their overall body condition and complete well-being, then you can adjust the amount you feed them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keep in mind that the amount we feed them is also dependent on the quality of food we feed them.
Feeding a high quality diet is one of the most important things you, as a dog owner, can do to keep your dog healthy and active. But what constitutes a high quality dog food? How can you tell if your dog is receiving the nutrition he needs to thrive? It isn’t until our pet shows signs of physical disturbance that we realize we have to change what we’ve been doing. For that reason alone it is important to make good choices for them in the beginning of their life with you.
There are several new “diets” that have been introduced, such as “raw”, “grain free”, “gluten free” etc, all have some validity. However, in general they are not “complete” nutritional diets for your pet to maintain good health. As with people, no one diet can encompass complete nutritional value. We must also remember that our nutritional needs are very different from our pets needs, meaning that feeding them a diet of people food also does not provide complete nutritional value for our pets and in some cases can cause harm.
For example, a raw diet does not necessarily provide the needed nutrients for our dogs today. Based on the idea that our current domesticated dogs are descendents from wolves it may make sense to feed a raw diet. However, domesticated dogs have evolved and their nutritional requirements have changed somewhat. Also remember that wolves in the wild do not live as long as our domesticated pets, reasons being not only outside influence but poor nutrition. It would only make sense that the same diet for our dogs today will eventually produce the same results. As for grain free diets again we can refer back to wolves that didn’t eat grains, but today our dogs have developed the ability to digest grains and they contain nutrients that are needed.
Bottom line is no matter what you choose to feed your pet, do it responsibly. Leave the research to the experts to formulate quality food and choose to provide balanced nutrition by feeding your pet a good quality food.