The nutritional needs of dogs vary according to age and according to the size of the breed. It is important to take this into account to choose the correct diet that guarantees an optimal state of health.
A small-breed puppy doesn’t have as much energy as a large-breed adult dog, and so it has different nutritional needs. Likewise, a nine-year-old German Shepherd adult will have different health issues to a French Bulldog puppy. Of course – just as with humans – size and age, as well as factors such as lifestyle, activity levels and specific health issues will determine a dog’s nutritional needs. The aim of this article is to clarify your dog’s needs, in line with its life stage and size.
Nutritional requirements of puppies: Because they are growing, puppies have special dietary requirements. During this stage, they need plenty of energy. This life stage is really important for the animal’s future health.
Requirements of a large-breed adult dog: Once the growing stage is over and a puppy has reached their adult weight, their needs will change. Their energy demand will drop to about half of what it was, depending, of course, on their activity levels. This means that their diet will also need to change.
However, they do need food that is rich in protein and carbohydrates, and lower in fat to prevent excessive weight gain, since they are prone to joint problems. That’s why their diet needs to contain chondroprotective agents such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which help maintain strong, healthy joints.
Requirements of a small-breed adult dog: Small-breed adult dogs often need plenty of energy. This means more calories per kilo of weight than for large-breed dogs. Their diets should include a rich source of animal proteins, and can include carbohydrates to provide energy.
Requirements of senior dogs: Older dogs, like puppies, need a diet that is tailor-made for them as they tend to begin to experience health problems. These include a weaker immune system, being less able to absorb nutrients from their diet and joints suffering from wear-and-tear. They need a complete and balanced diet tailored to meet the nutritional requirements of a senior dog.
Older dogs are also less able to digest food properly, which is why their food should be made with ingredients that are easy to digest, i.e. ingredients that are easily absorbed and that the body can make good use of.