How To Help Your Pet Navigate Nutrition Through Different Life Stages

Published May 20, 2022
Golden retriever with tennis balls in its mouth

As your pet grows and changes, so do their nutritional needs. While this sounds quite basic, it is fundamental to providing our pets with the optimal diet to help them through each of these important stages of life, giving them exactly what they need to stay healthy and happy at the time. What is best to feed at each of these stages? That depends on several factors.

Royal Canin believes diets need to be tailored for specific individual pet needs, for not only age and life-stage, but also size, breed, and healthcare requirements to provide individual pets with the best nutrition.

Kittens and Puppies

Just like us, pets have different nutritional needs at different points in their life stages. Puppies and kittens require a diet that will ensure their rapid growth requirements are met. This means supplying them with higher levels of energy in the form of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, as well as vitamins and minerals like calcium and Vitamin D for strong bone and muscle development, as well as essential fatty acids for brain and immune function. These building blocks or nutrients offer appropriate nourishment to establish health and wellness in pets as they move into adolescence, adulthood and beyond.

Royal Canin® makes it easy with targeted formulas that address the needs of your individual pet, depending not only on their growth rate but breed and any health sensitivities they may be prone to. Your veterinarian or specialty retailer can advise you, or you can head to the Royal Canin® website for everything you need to know about choosing the most appropriate diet for your pet. This will change as your pet changes, but we are always here to help, and we want your pet to be as healthy and happy as you do.

The Process of Changing to a New Food, and Why It is Important

Once cats reach one year old, it's time to change to an adult formula diet. No longer growing at the same rate, your cat has established its adult size and can move to a diet with ingredients that support long term health and well-being.

With dogs however it does depend on their expected adult size as to when to switch and what to switch to.

Small breed dogs finish growing and can change to adult food around 10 months of age, but Giant breeds such as Great Danes are still growing until 18-24 months and need to remain on a diet suitable for this growth until then. Large breed dogs finish growth around 15 months and around 12 months for medium size dogs is time to transition to adult diets. All growth recommendations are on our informative and clearly labelled packaging, but the rule of thumb is the bigger the dog, the longer they need to stay on a growth diet.

Other considerations for choosing the most appropriate diet for your pet are what their health care needs might be. There are diets tailored for nutritional support of specific scenarios such as urinary and gastrointestinal sensitivities, if they are prone to dental health issues, or need help maintaining a healthy weight. We also offer breed-specific formulas that can assist with breeds' specific health predispositions or requirements.

When it comes to making the dietary change, the key is to do it gradually to avoid potential digestive upset.

Start with a mix of 25% of the new food with 75% of the old for a few days. Keep an eye out for loose stools that would indicate difficulty with digestion. If all seems well, then you can mix 50/50 at around day 4. Increase to 75/25 after a week, and from there to 100% new food.

The idea is to gradually increase the ratio of new to old over the course of a week or two, but if a new food is not well tolerated, you will need to lessen the ratio of new to old and stretch the transition period a little longer. Some pets have more sensitive digestion than others and signs of this might include diarrhoea, vomiting, or any change to what is normal for them.

Deepening our Relationship with Our Pet for a Lifetime

Feeding Royal Canin's® super premium food gives you peace of mind knowing that your pet is getting tailored nutrition that is designed for individual pet requirements based on size, health and or breed, with high quality and digestibility.

Cats can have specific needs for the aromatic profile (smell) and texture, even more so than taste. There is a complete range of options for these cats to get optimal nutrition in a way most appealing for them. We know owners like to give pets food they love as well as keep them healthy, and that can be different for each pet and change with time, so it's good to know that all Royal Canin products are backed by science and carry a palatability guarantee.

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How To Help Your Pet Navigate Nutrition Through Different Life Stages