Nutrition - Lifestages

Understanding the life-stages of your pet is important, not only do they behave differently throughout their life, they also have different nutritional needs. Catering to these needs is the best way you can ensure your pet is as healthy as they can be while they age.

Young cats are kittens until they are 12 months old, at which time they are classed as “adults” and then again at 7-years of age, your cat is classed as a “senior citizen”. A puppy’s transition to adulthood is variable depending on breed, size and overall growth, so we recommend talking to your local vet for their opinion on when your puppy is expected to become an adult.

This includes:

  • Puppy & Kitten
  • Adult
  • Senior

    Puppy & Kitten

    As young animals, puppies and kittens rely heavily on their mothers for everything - their nutrition (milk) as well as for general learning and guidance. As they pass the eight-week old mark, these young furballs find themselves leaving the comfort of their mum and siblings to come into our lives. Once they do, it’s up to us to provide a loving and caring environment for them, ensuring we provide them with the right training, socialisation and nutrition to ensure they grow up strong, happy and healthy.

    While puppies and kittens are young their nutrition is incredibly important – what we give them to nourish their growing bodies needs to be balanced and of utmost quality to ensure they flourish.

    Superior Nutrition foods, such as Royal Canin and Hill's Science Diet, are the highest quality of food available to help your young pet grow up healthy. These foods have the perfect levels of protein, calcium and fats to ensure even and steady growth, and some even have the addition of DHA and EPA (omega-3 fatty acids) to aid in brain development and to support their cardiovascular system.

    When picking the right diet for your puppy, ensure you match the right food for their breed size. Small breed puppies have very different energy and growth requirements to that of a large breed. All formulas specific to sizes contain appropriate levels of fat, protein and calcium to ensure growth is steady and matches that of their adult size. See the table for a quick example of adult-size guidelines that your puppy may fit in. Kittens tend to mature at 12 months, as their size is less variable than dogs; though this does change if you have a large breed, such as a Maine Coon. Consult your local vet if you have queries about your pet's age progression.

    Adult Weight (kg) Breed Size
    <3kg Toy Breed
    3-10kg Small Breed
    11-25kg Medium Breed
    26-40kg Large Breed
    41-60+kg Giant Breed

    A great diet while young will not only help them thrive but will also set them up for a healthy future. A Superior Nutrition diet is nutrient dense and supports optimum growth, while also providing great dental care, contributing to gut, skin and coat health, and providing a great foundation for the long-term wellbeing of your pet. A Superior Nutrition diet is well-balanced, with top quality ingredients and has stringent quality control, which means that you know you are feeding your pet a consistent diet (when feeding them the same food) that is hugely beneficial to their overall health.

    A healthy body will mean your pet is able to spend more time giving you all the love they can. Another option for your kitten and puppy is breed specific diets with options such as Persian for kittens, as well as Labrador and Boxer for puppies. Feeding a breed specific diet will help to minimize any potential problems that are more common with the breed of your pet, but it will also ensure the kibble they are eating is easy to pick up and is suitable for their growing needs. If your pet is a crossbreed – don’t worry, feeding a size-appropriate diet is still going to have amazing benefits for your furbaby.

    For optimal nutrition, feeding your pet both wet and dry food has multiple health benefits. Introducing a wet meal into your pet’s diet can be a great way to provide stimulation and excitement through a variety of flavours and textures, as well as being highly digestible. Having a wet diet alongside their normal kibble will not only invigorate your pet’s desire to eat their food, but it also comes with added benefits.


    Adult

    As your puppy or kitten matures, they become an adult cat or a dog, which means their nutritional needs will change. Transitioning from a kitten or puppy food to an adult food should be done when they’re of appropriate age, and this depends on factors such as their breed, their growth rate, their age and any outstanding health considerations. Talk to your local Animates Vetcare about the right age to transition your puppy onto adult food.

    Once your pet is ready to move to adult food, Animates recommends transitioning them to the adult equivalent of the young food they have been on. This could be moving from dry Royal Canin Kitten, to Royal Canin Fit Cat, or from Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy to Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed, though you can also take this opportunity to focus on a health aspect you feel your pet could use a boost in.

    Remember to always go to the vet if you have any concerns about your pet’s health. Although Superior Nutrition diets may help to prevent some issues from occurring, going to a professional for advice is always recommended. If you have less of a concern and are more interested in boosting an aspect of your pet’s overall wellbeing, then there are diets to support this. An oral care diet is a good example of such a diet, where the kibble shape, formation and ingredients can help support dental health. Keep in mind that this is not a replacement for brushing your pet’s teeth, or for a teeth scale but can help to reduce the frequency with which you may need to do this.

    Cats and dogs do have some varying diet options; dogs can benefit from a sensitive joint formula which will help support the joints of a large breed dog, whereas for a cat with a long coat consider a hairball diet as this can help manage hairballs and overall digestion. If your pet is fussy, there are foods designed for extra palatability, though changing their diet frequently can cause them to become fussier than they would be otherwise; for this reason, we recommend sticking to one kibble and supplementing with wet meals as required.

    Feeding a size-specific formula is as important for an adult dog as it is for a puppy – with the added vitamins and minerals that help support the size of a pet, and keep their weight balanced feeding the right diet is essential.

    A great diet throughout their youth and adulthood may help ensure your pet goes into their golden years fit and healthy, with fewer health concerns than they may have had otherwise


    Senior

    After adulthood, your pet becomes a senior citizen. These years are characterised as those where your pet begins to slow down, they may be sleeping more or becoming less active, or their skin and coat or overall health may have deteriorated. During these years, your pets diet should now, more than ever, be the focus to ensure that what they’re eating will help with their overall health, wellbeing and longevity.

    Feeding an age-specific diet, in this case for your senior pet, will ensure they are getting the right level of nutrients to thrive. An older pet needs a food rich in omega fatty acids and antioxidants, to help with their brain function slowing. Their food also needs to include the right levels of fat and protein, so they do not experience weight fluctuations as their body adjusts to becoming less active – that’s why a Superior Nutrition diet that takes all these considerations into account is the best available for your senior pet.

    While feeding your older pet the right food is important, sticking to portion sizes is too. Commonly at the back of the bag of food there will be serving sizes for you to follow to ensure that your pet is receiving the correct amount of nutrition. Keeping your senior pet hydrated is also important, and you may find as they age they are less inclined to drink water; cats in particular can grow more stubborn as they age and so it is important to closely monitor the hydration of senior cats.

    Supplementing your senior pet’s diet with a wet meal is a great way to add additional hydration to their daily intake, where some pets may struggle to get enough water day-to-day, particularly in summer or in pet’s that are prone to urinary tract infections (i.e. cats and senior pets). The high meat content of wet diets encourages palatability so if your pet is struggling to eat their dry diet, offering some wet food alongside can help to encourage their eating. We recommend a mixed diet, rather than a solely wet diet, as kibble provides dental benefits, a calorically dense form and additional texture and flavour variety.

    Dental health at any age is important – Superior Nutrition diets are designed to help clean your pets’ teeth while they chew. This, coupled with a dental routine (such as brushing, or dental treats) can help to reduce the likelihood of your pet developing any age-related dental problems.

    Taking extra care of your pet during their twilight years is important to ensure that they remain happy and healthy and feeding a well-balanced, high quality nutrition can help support this. Remember, if at any time you are concerned about your pet’s health, always consult a Veterinarian. If you have any questions regarding diet, your pets life-stage or how best to support your pet, visit your local Animates or Animates Vetcare and the team will be happy to help.