Bark Vs Meow: The Big (Food) Difference
Why are pet food varieties these days divided into for puppies/kittens, for senior pets, for special needs, and so on? What is the reason for this?
The different life stages of pets entail changing diets. Just like humans, their bodies evolve as they grow older and need altered proportions of nutrients to stay in top condition. That is why commercial pet foods are varied according to different life stages as they are intricately produced to meet their nutritional requirements.
Younger pets tend to be more hyper and have more active metabolisms. As such, puppies and kittens need more energy and protein to develop their organs as well as their bone and muscular structure. To attain their nutritional needs, young pets should be fed with food that contains proteins with adequate amounts of amino acid found in meat, fish, eggs, and poultry as well as legumes, grains, and vegetables. As kittens and puppies go through crucial developmental stages such as teething, it is advised they be fed with soft foods for easy intake.
When the pet grows into an adult, it will consume a bigger proportion of food. The nutritional profile of adult dogs and cats differ from the younger stages as the nutrient emphasis shifts to growth maintenance. Generally, fat, nutrient and protein intake should be proportionate to the pet’s body size and activity levels. It is important to note that adult dogs need less protein than adult cats. That is because dogs only use approximately 12% of protein for growth metabolism as opposed to cats that use 20% of protein for the same purpose.
Nutrition is most critical for pregnant pets to ensure both the mother and her young are getting the complete nourishment they need. In fact, female pets must have proper nutrition before pregnancy to help facilitate normal fertility and conception. For cats, taurine is a vital protein. Unlike dogs, cats cannot internally produce their Taurine. This type of amino acid is usually found in meat and is responsible to the healthy functioning of the heart, retina, bile fluid and certain aspects of reproduction.
Senior pets are noticeably less active and have lower metabolisms than young and adult pets. They will not be able to utilize nutrients as efficiently as they did when they were younger. Therefore, it is important that they receive more easily-absorbable nutrients. Because they are becoming less active, it is advisable that their food proportions be decreased while the amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes should be increased.