Nutrition

Making sure your pet receives the correct nutrition can make a big difference in their health and longevity. Dietary requirements differ between dogs and cats, and can also vary between different stages of their lives.

Canine Nutrition

Dogs require a range of nutrients, not just meat. There are plenty of diets available which provide dogs with all their specific needs. It is important to feed your pet the correct diet for their stage of life to help maintain their health and wellbeing, and increase their longevity.

There are 3 main stages of life in dogs which must be considered when choosing the correct diet:

Puppy: 0-1 year

  • The correct diet is important for proper growth and development
  • Their diet needs to be balanced to provide energy, protein, calcium and phosphorous required for bone development
  • Providing the correct nutrients is also important for immune system development, hair/coat quality, weight management and joint health
  • A puppy’s diet must also consider their adult size based on their breed – small, medium, large or giant breed
  • Food needs will decrease slightly after being desexed due to changes in metabolism

 

Adult dog: 1-7 years (up to 5 years in large or giant breeds)

  • Proper nutrition is important to maintain their physical condition and health
  • Nutritional needs can change during their adult stage of life due to the need for weight control, or higher metabolisms and energy needs if active
  • Other prescription diets are available that may be needed for other conditions, such as weight control (metabolic diets), diabetes, skin allergies/sensitivities, dental disease, stomach allergies/sensitivities, kidney disease, joint care and pancreatitis

 

Senior dog: 7+ years (5+ years in giant breeds)

  • Nutritional requirements change again when dogs reach mature life stages
  • For senior dogs, nutrition is more focused on immune system boosting, organ and brain function, joint health and weight control

 

To provide all the nutritional requirements and best possible diet for your dog in their stage of life, check with your vet for advice at your next visit.

 

Feline Nutrition

Cats are obligate carnivores, and therefore must consume meat in every meal. They are different from humans and dogs in that they cannot synthesis the amino acids taurine and arginine, and therefore must obtain them from their diet. Deficiency in these amino acids can lead to heart disease, foetal and growth abnormalities, and degenerative eye disorders, as well as a range of other health conditions. It is vital that your cat receives a premium diet appropriate to their stage of life.

It is also common for cats to be lactose intolerant, meaning they cannot be fed cow’s milk.

There are 3 main stages of life in dogs which must be considered when choosing the correct diet:

Kittens: 0-12 months

  • Kittens need balanced diets to provide them with energy, protein, calcium and phosphorous for bone growth, immune system and organ development, and digestive health
  • A lot of their growth occurs before 4 months of age, and then growth slows after 4 months of age
  • It is ideal to initially feed kittens frequently with 3-4 meals per day, especially when younger than 4 months. As they get older, they can be fed 2 meals per day
  • Energy needs will change after being desexed, which can alter their metabolism and result in more
  • sedentary behavior

 

Adult: 1-10 years

  • Adult feline nutrition is focused on maintaining health and physical condition
  • Some brands of food can be fed indoor or outdoor due to energy and protein requirements varying depending on the cat’s environment – outdoor cats tend to use more energy per day as they roam and exercise more
  • Prescription diets are available for conditions developed in the adult stage of life, such as weight control, skin allergies/sensitivities, diabetes, stomach allergies/sensitivities, dental disease, urinary issues and kidney disease

 

Mature: 10+ years

  • Older cats have an increased risk of developing illnesses and conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease and hyperthyroidism
  • Mature feline nutrition is focused on maintaining weight and assisting organ and immune function
  • It is best to have regular vet checks every 6 months at 12 years of age or more, and to monitor appetite, eating, drinking and urination, as signs of disease may be subtle

 

Make sure to discuss the nutritional requirements and best diet for your cat at your next vet visit.

Our qualified nurses understand the value of appropriate nutrition over different life stages and its role in your pet’s well-being and healthcare, and can help advise you on your pet’s nutritional needs.

We aim to help optimize your pet’s nutrition to enhance their well-being and longevity.