Just like humans, dogs and cats need different foods at different life stages. Here’s the skinny…
When They’re Tiny. There’s a lot of growth in a kitten or puppy’s first year, and first foods cater to those different nutritional needs. Because bones are developing, foods have a different calcium phosphorus ratio that will make sure those bones are strong. First year foods are higher in calories, which makes it important to know when to transition your pet to adult food. This is especially important if your dog is spayed or neutered; those extra calories might set your pet on the path to obesity. On the other hand, larger dog breeds may need to stay on puppy food longer. Mechanically, most puppy and kitten foods have small pieces that are easier to eat with little mouths.
When They’re Adults. Full grown pets need food that meets the needs of what they do all day. The cat who likes to laze in the sun will need something different from the cat who likes to hunt. Agility dogs and weekend warriors have different needs than the doggie whose favorite pass time is cuddling on the couch. For all pets, we can recommend foods that have high quality protein sources. And whatever food you choose, you should pay attention to your pet. How is their GI tract? How is their hair coat and ears? Are they having recurrent problems as an adult? Many times we will discuss diet changes to improve seemingly small issues that can present as much bigger issues as they age.
When They’re “Fluffy”. If your pet’s weight begins creeping up, we’ll recommend that you decrease the amount of treats you give your pet, and increase the activity level. We may also recommend Purina OM, a special weight loss food that requires a prescription. We’ve found that many of the over the counter foods just taste bad, and some pets refuse to eat it. You want them to eat something, but in a more controlled way. Purina OM is low in calories and high in fiber so keeps them feeling full, but it’s also tasty!
When They’re Seniors. As your pet heads into the golden years, they slow down, their bones and joints get tired, and their brains sometimes get fuzzy. Senior food includes supplements for joint health, like Glucosamine Chondroitin. It is also a step down in calories. There is even a food by Purina called Bright Minds that is designed to help with cognitive functioning.
At Town N Country, we’ll help you choose the best food for your pets throughout life. As always, our goal is to keep your pet healthy and happy, whatever stage of life they are in.