I have always been interested in nutrition. Just recently, my animal hospital created a Nutrition Club in order to educate our clients on proper feeding for their pets. Nutrition has a powerful affect on your pets. I figured that it would be a perfect topic to talk about!
So, let’s start with puppies. In this particular life stage, puppies require vitamin E & DHA in their diets which help with immunity and neurological functions. Look for food that have amount in their ingredients list like fish oil, liver, vegetable oils, and Omega -3 fatty acid.
As puppies, (Before turning one) I fed my girls Purina ProPlan. Particularly because it was recommended by our veterinarian. I also added a couple drops of olive oil on top of their food for a shiny coat. Between ten and twelve months of age you would want to start transitioning your puppy to adult food.
Transition Stages One , Five, and Seven
During these transition times, you want to look for food that contain the proper ingredients for adequate health:
- Higher fat & calories
- Higher protein
- More energy (fat)
- Higher/controlled mineral levels
- Less Calcium & Energy (fat) for larger breeds
I begin feeding the girls Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach. They have eating this for the past 2 1/2 years until I switched to Hills Healthy Advantage +Oral. I made the switch not because of anything drastic. Purina still have great and beneficial ingredients, I was intrigued by the fact that the Hills Healthy Advantage natural scrubs the teeth when your pet eats it. I have yet to brush the girls’ teeth, but Nyla is starting to have tartar and plaque build up. I started to buy her hard toys, dental chews, and now feeding her Healthy Advantage. With this combination, her teeth have mouracliouly improved!
Okay, rant over. Back to nutrition. Proteins that you should look for on the back of your dog food would be chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, and ground whole wheat. Protein in your pets diet promote strong cells. Corn is easily digestible and supplies fatty acids, carbohydrates, and antioxidants. A lot of food companies have been coming out with the grain-free recipes. I do know that Purina have quite a few out of the shelves. As well as Greenies dental chews has a grain-free option.
For adults(Five years) and seniors(Seven+), you will want to lower the amount of phosphorus and sodium to maintain kidney and heart health.
- Less phosphorus
- Less protein
- Less sodium
- Less calcium
- Increased fiber (Seniors)
For older aged pets, you want to start focusing on weight management even more. Already you should be helping your pet but as your animal ages, health risk start to come to the surface. Hip and joint pain in German Shepard’s is a common health concern seen in veterinary hospitals. I know that If she is overweight, it will affect her hips and joints even more. SO controlling the intake of calories and making sure she gets the right amount of exercise is key.
Tips on Weight Management
- Treats should only equal up to 10% of your pet’s diet. I feed the girls Greenies Pill Pockets and Dental Chews.
- Toss kibble for your pet to catch in the air.
- Play fetch with their toys
- Hide their favorite toy and have them search for it around the house.
- Take a thirty minute walk
- Give healthy treats 1/4 cup of carrots (17 calories) 1/4 cup of green beans (9 calories)
*Information was gather from reseraching Hill’s Nutrion at www.hillspet.com