We often see pet owners sticking with the same dog food for the entire dog’s life. The dietary requirements of a dog change at certain stages in its life, depending on their activity level and their overall health.
There are three life stages where your dog should be fed the appropriate pet food. The first stage is the puppy stage. The food given to your pooch in this stage should be labeled “for growth” by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). This is the US agency that sets the standards for pet food. The “for growth” labeled food have higher calorie counts and higher protein levels and are designed for growing puppies.
When your dog reaches the next stage, that is the adult life stage, the food that you give him must change. This time, you need to buy food, which are graded “adult maintenance” by the AAFCO. Puppy food should not be given to your pet at this stage, as this can cause him to become overweight or obese.
In the dog’s senior stage, which is the last stage, the food needs to be changed again. This time you have to consult your veterinarian about the dietary plans for your senior dog, with issues on mobility and other health conditions. Illnesses related to the kidney and heart is common ailment affecting senior dogs, as in the case of humans.
While there is no pet food that “has it all”, changing your pet’s food periodically allows your dog to consume a variety of food that his body requires.
Besides the three life stages where a certain amount of change is required in your dog’s diet, you as the pet owner, should also look for other signs that is an indicator that you need to change your pet’s diet. Some examples include flaky and dull coat, weakness, hefty midsection and itchiness. As soon as you notice these signs and some other conditions, make sure to take your dog to the vet. The veterinarian is the appropriate person to recommend medicines as well as change in diet, it’s best to trust nobody else.