It is fascinating how fast dogs age. If humans feel that their babies grow up so fast, dogs grow up faster. There is a big difference in what humans and dogs consider old. Humans cannot compare their age to their dogs.
Figuring your dog’s age
One of the theories and most believed to be legit about comparing dog years to human years is that a dog’s years multiplied by seven equals human years. However, this is just a guess.
To get a more precise comparison, look at certain factors, like a dog’s breed or its size. Dogs that are larger tend to age more speedily and have briefer life spans compared to smaller dogs. There are also particular dog breeds with longer life spans. Say, for example, Great Danes have shorter life spans than cute Poodles, but they also have a longer life compared to middle size Bulldogs.
Another theory in computing dog age includes the degree of canine development. A dog tends to age speedily in the initial or early ages of life, then after two years, the development slows down.
In the initial years, particularly in the first two years of life, one year of a dog’s life is roughly 10 and a half years for humans; and then in the third year, the dog ages four years for every year of a human’s life.
So, if a dog is 10 years old, that corresponds to 53 years old in human years. It is a bit complicated especially since geography can also alter human life expectancy.
While there is disagreement on how to calculate a dog’s age, there’s no question that dogs age more quickly than humans.
Choosing the right life-stage nutrition
One common dilemma of dog owners is choosing specific foods or nutritional variations according to their dog’s age. Generally, in feeding dogs, owners must be aware to give the right amount of well-balanced nutrition.
Dogs have a unique tooth structure and their intestines are built to consume meat and plant foods (omnivore). Therefore, both must be given to them but in a properly balanced way. Pure plant materials are good to digest but insufficient. Pure meat and fat would affect their digestion. But by giving both in a balanced way, your dog’s dietary requirements will be met.
A well-balanced diet plus an adequate amount must be observed depending on the dog’s stage of life or age. It is important to note as well that feeding uncooked meals could pose several risks to canines especially younger dogs and immune-suppressed ones.
Dogs need proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, and of course water as part of their daily diet. To know how much food to feed your dog, the dog’s lean weight should be determined so that the energy requirements of your adult dog every day can be determined.
Different requirements as dogs age
Life-stage nutrition is a vital consideration, especially knowing that dogs have different nutritional requirements depending on their age or life stage.
There is no single formula for all life stages. A growing puppy’s dietary needs are different from a pregnant dog or an old dog. Many nutritionists recommend that dogs must be fed according to their age or life stage. Age-appropriate foods are crucial when it comes to total well-being and to ensure your dog’s longevity and quality of life.
For the early years of life or the puppy stage, dogs must be fed regularly and in generous amounts since they are growing quickly. From six weeks to eight weeks, they must consume at least four to six meals daily.
When they reach six months, their demand for food reduces and they can consume two to three daily meals.
Food choice is critical at this stage as they are rapidly growing. If the wrong food is given to them, they might suffer permanent consequences. Food given to puppies must be high-protein, high-calorie food formulated specifically for puppies.
Food also is formulated to meet the needs of giant breed puppies. There are puppy foods particularly formulated for them to meet their weight and size.
At 12 months, dogs can eat adult dog food formulas.
After age seven, dogs are considered senior and need a low-calorie, low sodium, high-protein diet with small amounts of carbohydrates. Why low sodium? This helps prevent cardiac or renal diseases from occurring especially in geriatric dogs. Your senior dog needs foods that will help keep its bones and intestines healthy. They also may need supplements to fight against bone diseases like osteoarthritis.
High-fiber diets can be helpful for geriatric dogs to aid in digestion. Healthy geriatric dogs require extra protein to help maintain muscle mass. The older the dog, the more protein it needs. So do not entertain the fallacy that protein must be reduced in aging dogs because they need proteins all the more as they age.
Determining how many calories your dog needs
Calories must be monitored as early as young age since avoiding overeating helps reduce the risk of disease and lengthens canine life.
Pet parents also need to consider the palatability of foods, especially for younger and senior dogs. Both need foods that are easy to chew. It also is important to place their food where it is easily accessible and comfortable for their posture, especially for the senior dogs. Place the food at face level so they don’t have to stoop or stand for a long time.
The food must be appetite-stimulating. For senior dogs, consider feeding them warm food to stimulate their appetites.
Just like humans, dogs should eat smaller, frequent meals rather than eat an entire day’s portion in one meal.
Meeting your dog’s life-stage nutrition requirements
The best advice is to choose the best quality food appropriate for your dog’s life stage. Then, feed your dog using the serving size and frequency they need to remain healthy.