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What’s the Deal With Lifestage Dog Foods?

Nutritional Nirvana or Masterful Marketing?

It is a simple fact that what you put into your dog is reflected in how they look, act and feel. Getting the right balance of nutrients is not entirely simple and depends on a seemingly endless amount of variables such as breed, activity level, age and medical condition. Life stage foods are quite a modern phenomenon, developed to offer a more tailored approach to feeding your dog.

The theory behind life stage foods is that they go much further than simply satisfying the nutritional needs of a dog in a particular age group. So do they really work or are they a marketing gimmick? Are you ignoring life stage foods to the detriment of your dog’s health?

What are canine life stages? For the purposes of pet foods, life stages are split into three groups, and then divided again to make allowances for breed size and activity level. Whether you plan to feed your dog a natural diet or follow the advice of pet food manufacturers to the letter, you need to be aware of how different life stages effect the nutritional requirements of your dog.

The nutritional needs of dogs may also change with changes in lifestyle or function. If energy needs decrease in a dog but energy intake does not decrease accordingly, the dog is at risk of becoming overweight and developing health problems. By providing a diet that conforms closely to the requirements of the pet, it is possible to improve health and performance.

Diet Calculator: Whichever breed, age, size of dog you have, our diet calculator should help you see if you are giving your dog the right balance of nutrition.

Puppies: The fact that puppies are always growing is the main consideration when feeding. The need for protein, calcium and energy is at it’s highest at this stage in the dog’s life. Since puppies have smaller stomachs, the nutritional quality of their food needs to satisfy the requirements of a growing dog, but be delivered in a smaller quantity. Claire Robinson-Davies explained why the nutritional requirements for a puppy depend on the breed as well as the age.

“Large breeds grow at a slower rate, so less energy in the form of protein and fat is needed to support the slower growth rate, whilst still enabling the dog to reach its full growth potential. Conversely small breeds grow at a faster rate and hence need increased fat and protein levels to support this . Some small breed puppy formulas also contain increased levels of B vitamins to support their high-energy metabolism.”

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My name is Jasmine Kleine. I am a qualified vet nurse and a passionate animal advocate. I write professionally about pets and animal health.

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