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Here’s What To Consider When Transitioning Your Dog’s Food According To Their Life Stage

Should you just double their portions or not? This and more diet questions answered for you

You may be a new pet parent after acquiring a new furry buddy during the quarantine (we all need a close companion, after all) or a long-time dog owner now. No matter how long you’ve been taking care of your canine friends, we still have burning questions that need answers, especially when it comes to their health and nutrition.

One issue that often confuses dog lovers most times is the diet transition across their life stages. Especially if you’re a mom or dad of a puppy, the type of food that they consume is a great concern. With all the options available in the market, should you just grab a big bag of adult dog food when they hit their “teens” or play it safe with one more pack of puppy food? 

Metro.Style talked to Dr. Cissy Ramos, a pet food nutrition specialist, and the expert voice addressing vet-related concerns during the pandemic via Zippet Ph, about the proper way of transitioning our canine buddies’ food depending on their life stage. “Dogs do have different nutritional requirements, depending on breed,” she begins. “When feeding them, you have to consider the level of activity and the diseases that come with that particular life stage.”

That’s why she highly encourages doing a lot of research and talking to your vet for the best advice. For example, Dr. Ramos points out a puppy’s need for higher protein, which is much needed for their growth; thus, the availability of puppy food specifically targeted for the young ones. This is the same with expectant dogs as they have puppies inside them—so tailored food for preggies are out in the market, too. Meanwhile, old dogs need less protein but more maintenance requirements, and formulas that target these specific concerns are readily made for our furries.

That’s why it’s important to look at a dog food’s label to check on the ingredients and if the quality is great. One should also watch out for possible allergens. “You have to be very particular about these things,” she adds.

And as your dog transitions from one life stage to another, mixing new food into their meals should be a gradual change so as not to shock their digestive system. It’s usually inscribed in the labels of the dog food you buy—mixing 25% of the new food with the old one in two days, then 50% in the following couple of days after that, and so on, until your dog has fully adjusted to his new meal. “If they are not fussy eaters, then you can achieve the transition in a week,” Dr. Ramos says. 

Another thought that could possibly be on your mind is portion sizes. While it’s tempting to easily double the amount of food you give to your furry friend as his age adds up or if he’s a particularly large breed, the pet specialist decides against it. Instead, following the recommended feeding guidelines is still your best bet.

“When you have a large dog but it’s still a puppy, it is not recommended to double the amount of food just because they are bigger,” she warns. “If a large breed pup is fed more, they would gain weight rapidly. And they do not really need that because it is bad for them!”

So when you’re unsure about something, it all boils down to one thing: Checking the label. Of course, a vet’s advice is still gold. But if a consultation isn’t possible, reading the back of that dog food bag will keep your dog’s health in check.

About The Expert

Dr. Cissy was a practitioner from Vets in Practice, but she resigned from VIP to minimize risk of contracting the virus and to protect her parents. Zippet PH started as an advocacy during the Enhanced Community Quarantine. Profits for her online consultations go to cause-oriented organizations that she believes in, like the Animal Kingdom. Dr. Cissy is also a pet food nutrition specialist. She also got her Pet Food Nutrition Certification in 2020. She puts the knowledge to good use by holding pet nutrition workshops, catering mostly to pet owners. She wants to ensure that pet parents are not misinformed on pet care matters like pet nutrition.