Pet Food Choices and Your Pet’s Age

While browsing through some of the previous blog posts that used to be published on the old version of the website, I came across an article discussing if there is a nutritional reason for choosing a pet food based on your pet’s age. So I decided to do a little more research and share the information with the rest of our K9Cuisine Family.

According to this national survey about pet food choices, roughly 11% of surveyed pet owners consider their pets age when shopping for their food.  This statistic was surprising to me as I expected it to be much higher considering the majority of pet food manufactures have developed and are actively marketing “Life-Stage” formulas. So is this all a marketing gimmick or is there really science at work? Keep reading to find out as I dig into this issue with you.

Life-Stage nutrition is a term that has been coined to describe the development of pet food formulas that are specific to general age groups of pets. Typically, you will find these formulas labeled as (or something similar):

According to this VetStreet article, “Life-stage and lifestyle nutrition both recognize the existence of an optimal nutrient range for pets. Your goal is to feed foods designed to meet your pet’s individual life-stage and lifestyle needs, while keeping him at a healthy weight.”

Managing Your Pet's WeightWe as humans undergo several distinct life stages throughout our lives, just like our four-legged friends do. As infants our bodies require foods that are really high in calories, vitamins and minerals to help support healthy brain and body development. The same can be said of puppies and kittens as they too are experiencing a lot of growth at this stage.

Though these needs taper down a little in our younger years, we of course are all too aware that as we enter our teenage years, food is a precious commodity as our bodies are once again growing and changing…especially if you have ever fed a house full of teenagers :) This time period of our lives is much like the youth of our furry pales. The time where they seem to be all energy all day, loving nothing more than to run and play!

As we enter our prime adult years, our nutritional needs change once again. Rather than requiring high caloric foods, we instead need foods that provide well balanced nutrition while being able to maintain a healthy weight. Again the same can be said for our pets as for some pet owners, these years seem to be the ones where pet weight issues come into play.

Finally, just like our pets, as we get older our nutritional needs change yet again. Our bodies are no longer burning the energy that they used too and thus our diet needs to take that into account.

With all of that said, taking into consideration, your pet’s age when choosing their food is highly important and not just a marketing gimmick. Feeding some All-Stages foods to your younger pups/kittens or your “more wizened’ pets could lead them to consuming less/more nutrients and calories than they need.

As always if you are concerned about the food that you are feeding your pets, be sure to speak with their veterinary health care team about your concerns. We are also here to help you choose from one of the thousands of healthy food options that we carry, feel free to give us a call any time!

Do you change your pet’s diet as they grow older? If so what brands/formulas do you use?