Bark Vs Meow: The Big (Food) Dif­fer­ence

Animal Scene - - THE 411 -

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.

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