December 7, 2022

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Ask Dr. Aziza: How Your Dog’s Nutrition Needs Change Throughout Their Lives

Nutrition plays an important role in health and longevity at every stage of your dog’s life. Let’s take a look at Dr. Aziza’s explanation of how dog nutrition needs can change throughout their lifespan.

Dog nutrition needs during the puppy years

The best puppy food options are formulated to meet the three key nutritional needs of young dogs:

  • Frequent
    meals throughout the day:
    Puppies
    are young balls of energy that require frequent meals throughout the day to
    help maintain their blood glucose levels.
  • Calories
    match their energy use:
    They
    also require a certain amount of calories to keep up with their young and
    robust metabolism.
  • Takes
    their breed size into consideration:
    Because dog breeds come in different sizes, it’s also important to
    ensure the diet helps regulate the calories and calcium intake, preventing
    nutrition-related diseases like hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis. This is why
    it’s strongly recommended to choose diets labeled for large or giant breed
    puppies when indicated.

Knowing this, I would recommend trying Freshpet® Select Puppy Recipe with Chicken, Egg, and Vegetable or Vital® Grain-Free Chicken, Beef, and Salmon Puppy Recipe, both of which are formulated to meet your dog’s nutritional needs during this early stage of life.

golden retriever puppy running on sidewalk towards the camera

Dog nutrition needs during the adult years

As a puppy becomes an
adult, two key changes occur that directly affect a dog’s nutritional needs:

  • Health
    challenges:
    Medical issues like
    osteoarthritis, kidney disease, and even bladder stones alter the nutrition
    necessary for treatment and disease management.
  • Energy
    levels:
    A dog who was active as
    a puppy can turn into a couch potato, decreasing its activity level.
    Maintaining the same consumption of calories can lead to obesity which further
    increases the risk of developing diabetes mellitus in the future.

During your dog’s adult
years, it’s important to monitor their weight and activity level, as well as
schedule annual physical exams to see if any adjustments to your dog’s
nutritional needs are recommended.

For an adult dog in good health and with average energy levels, it’s more about finding a diet that is made with high-quality ingredients in a format they enjoy. I recommend taking a look at the different lines of Freshpet recipes and trying a few to see which your dog enjoys the most.

two mid-sized dogs running on an outdoor dirt path towards the camera

Dog nutrition needs during the senior years

Senior dogs are more
likely to have chronic diseases that require long-term management. They also
need different nutritional needs compared to younger dogs, including:

  • Higher levels of vitamins C and E

Research studies also
show that adding antioxidants to your senior dog’s daily diet helps to improve
memory and cognitive function. Senior dogs are also more likely to be
dehydrated throughout the day, so increasing their water intake is a great way
to decrease age-related changes.

Based on the nutrition needs of senior dogs, I would recommend trying Freshpet® Select Fresh from the Kitchen™ Home Cooked Chicken recipe as it has a high moisture content, antioxidant-rich cranberries, and high-quality protein that is a healthy dog food option for senior dogs.