Age-Appropriate Raw Pet Food Diets

Written on Sunday, January 6th, 2013
Age-Appropriate Raw Pet Food Diets

Breed plays a large part in how to feed your dog but age and energy level plays an equally important role. Age will help to determine how much to feed, how often to feed and, in some regards, what to feed. Below we will discuss the major life stages of dogs and cats. Also, see our article on breed-specific raw diets.

Age-Appropriate Raw Pet Food Diets For Dogs

PUPPIES

Generally, a puppy is considered any dog less than one year of age but depending on breed, the growing stage can be much longer. Giant breeds can take up to 3 years to fully develop. The age that a dog is neutered or spayed will also be a major defining factor of how your pup grows and what the dietary needs are. See below for more details.

Puppies grow rapidly and play more vigorously than adults. They exert more energy during their puppy stage than at any other time in their lives. They are developing physiologically, physically and mentally and need excellent nutrition to grow at their best. Pups usually need between 200-250g per 10 lbs of bodyweight. Large breed pups grow very quickly and a raw diet will ensure that your pup meets all dietary requirements so that the risk of hip/elbow dysplasia, anemia and other large breed problems is reduced.

Puppies need raw bones daily for proper bone development. They also need all essential vitamins and minerals. They must have a properly balanced diet and lots of it! Be sure that your puppy is not overweight or underweight as he grows. Overweight and underweight pups can experience a plethora of developmental problems.

A Note on Spaying and Neutering:

Spaying and neutering is an important part of being a responsible pet owner. The age at which you decide to neuter and spay is up to you and your veterinarian. Sterilization will affect your pets’ growth rate, energy and hormone levels, especially in larger breeds that take longer to develop. Be sure to keep a close eye on your pup in the weeks and months following the surgery. You may need to adjust the amount you are feeding. Weighing your dog regularly and observing body score are useful tools in determining food quantities.

ADULTS

When your dog has finished developing mentally and physically, he is considered an adult. Usually food requirements will change as your pup reaches adulthood and the amount needed will decrease. This will depend on your dogs’ breed as well as their occupation (eg. house dog, dog with a job, agility dog). Body score will be a major indicator for how much your dog needs each day. Generally, adult dogs will need 100-150g per 10lbs of bodyweight per day but may need more on very active days. Adulthood can be from 1 year to 12 years but will greatly vary based on size and breed. Larger dogs usually have shorter life spans than smaller dogs but this is a general statement. A raw diet will help your dog to live life to the fullest into his senior years and will give your dog the best chance at longevity.

SENIORS

It’s tough to put an exact age on when a dog becomes a senior. It will largely depend on the breed of the dog and its size. Large breed dogs are considered seniors between approximately 8-12 years old, medium dogs 10-16 years old, and small dogs 12-18 years old or older. These are generalizations, of course. Once your dog reaches his senior years, he may need a decrease in calories or an increase. As some dogs age, their energy level will decrease and so their need for calories will as well. Other dogs will have a decreased ability to absorb nutrients and may need nutrients and supplements that are easily absorbed. Some dogs will lose their ability to properly chew bones and will need ground meats, bones and veggies. If your dog is showing signs of aging, talk to your holistic vet about how to support him throughout this stage in their life with diet, supplements and appropriate exercise. Most seniors will need about 100g per 10 lbs but body score, energy level and health status should be considered to make healthy decisions for your dog. Regular vet visits are important during the senior years.

Age-Appropriate Raw Pet Food Diets For Cats

KITTENS

Your cat is considered a kitten until he is 1 year of age. Young cats are extremely active and playful and grow at an alarming rate. Kittens will need a balanced raw diet with lots of bones to get them through this life stage. They will eat between 200-250g of food per day and will need to be fed 2-4 times daily. At 8 weeks of age, it is best to offer several meals a day, especially when they are new to the raw diet. Most kittens that are started on raw right away will be voracious eaters for life. Introduce chicken necks and other cat-sized bones right away to get them used to chewing to keep teeth healthy. By 6 months, cats will do well with 2 meals per day as long as they eat all of their food at each meal. Use body score to determine if your kitten is getting enough to eat and that he is not getting too much.

ADULTS

An adult cat is one between the ages of 1 and 13 years. Some dry foods list a cat as senior at 7 years but cats have an average life span of 25 years when well-cared for. Most cats will eat between 100-150g daily and should be fed twice daily. Chicken necks and other whole prey items should be fed regularly to ensure healthy teeth and bones. Cats are active and playful even into late adulthood and a raw diet will help them live a long and healthy life.

SENIORS

Senior cats are animals 13 years and older. Cats may not exhibit signs of aging until well into their teens so you will need to observe your cat for changes in energy, mobility and appetite. As energy decreases, so will need for calories. On average, seniors will eat 100g daily but this will largely depend on how your cat ages. Ground meats may be more appropriate than whole prey items for some cats. Regular vet visits are important for senior cats. Ask your vet about supplements that will support your cat during his golden years.

*For questions about individual animals, please visit the following page.

Categories: dogs cats

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