When you bring your dog or cat in for an annual wellness check at our clinic in Livermore, CA, pet nutritional counseling will be a part of the conversation you have with the veterinarian. Your pet's dietary needs will change at different stages in life, and we share nutritional information with owners to ensure that their pets will live healthy and happy lives. Here is some information on the nutritional needs of your pet at every stage of life.
Puppies and Kittens
It sounds counterintuitive, but puppies and kittens need more calories while they are growing than they will need when they are full-grown. For the first 12 months of life, active kittens and puppies need more proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals because they are undergoing such rapid tissue growth the first year. Their diet must account for their activity level and their tissue growth. Pet food that is formulated for adult pets has fewer vitamins, minerals, and proteins than food that is specially formulated for puppies or kittens.
We should also note that for puppies, the size that they will be when they are full-grown makes a difference. If a puppy will weigh more than 50 pounds when fully-grown, it needs a specially formulated puppy food for large-breed dogs. This will help to prevent orthopedic problems and other issues in adulthood.
The Middle Years
From the age of 12 months until they are about five to seven years old, most dogs and cats will do well with a diet formulated for "adult" pets. Foods for adult cats and dogs are formulated with more moderate amounts of proteins, vitamins and minerals. If your pet is healthy during adulthood, an "adult" formulated pet food will be sufficient for all their nutritional needs.
Senior Dogs and Cats
Once your pet enters their "senior" years, nutritional needs start to become more specific for that individual pet. Talking with your veterinarian about your pet's diet becomes more important as your pet gets older. Healthy senior dogs and cats may require more protein to help them maintain muscle mass. Pets with chronic conditions can require more calories to help them maintain their weight. This truly is a case-by-case basis, so pet nutritional counseling with a veterinarian becomes vital for senior animals.
Pregnant or Lactating Females
Pregnant female pets are eating for two (or maybe ten), so their nutritional needs obviously change during this time. Puppy or kitten foods are actually formulated with all of the extra nutrients that a pregnant female pet needs. From the time of breeding, you can switch to the puppy/kitten formulated food and keep your pet on that diet until the babies are weaned.
Contact Us for Pet Nutritional Counseling
Your pet's dietary needs can also change rapidly if they have an underlying health issue. For any questions about pet nutritional counseling or to schedule an appointment at our clinic in Livermore, call (925) 292-5153.