Tailored Dog Food: Choosing The Right Nutrition For Your Pet

LAST UPDATED 19 JUNE 2023

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Teagan Lever BVSc (Hons)

Feeding your dog is one thing that you do every day which can have a major impact on their health and wellbeing, so it pays to get it right. While the best food for each dog is dependent on their individual needs, circumstances and preferences, a premium scientific tailored food is often a great choice.

Contents:
1. What is tailored nutrition?
2. Guide to tailored nutrition by lifestage
  a) Puppies
  b) Adult dogs
  c) Senior dogs
4. Further reading

What is tailored nutrition?

It's hard to believe that a 2kg Chihuahua can be the same species as a 60kg Great Dane. With such variety in size and shape, it makes sense that there can be variation in the nutritional needs of different breeds of dogs.

Tailored nutrition aims to address the specific needs of a particular breed or size and life stage of dog. For example, large breed dogs can be prone to joint and mobility problems as they age, so tailored adult and senior large breed foods may contain nutrients such as glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health.

In addition to tailored nutrients to target specific needs and life stages, tailored foods can also feature unique kibble shapes, sizes and textures to suit the variation in chewing styles and preferences between dog breeds, sizes and age.For example, the kibble for Royal Canin Adult Boxer is designed specifically to be easy for Boxers to be able to pick up and chew with their brachycephalic jaw, while Royal Canin Adult Chihuahua Wet Food has a specially adapted texture to appeal to fussy Chihuahuas.

Guide to tailored nutrition by life stage

Tailored nutrition for puppies

Puppies require complete and balanced nutrition to grow and develop into healthy adults. This includes the right level of high quality proteins for strong muscles, minerals like calcium and phosphorus for bone growth and omega 3 fatty acids for brain and eye development.

Nutritional requirements can vary depending on breed, so when choosing a diet for a puppy, it is recommended to look for a food which has been tailored for their expected adult size or breed specifically. For example, it is best to feed puppies with an expected adult weight over 25kg a large breed puppy food like ADVANCE Puppy Large Breed, which has controlled levels of energy and minerals to help reduce the risk of developmental bone and joint problems. There are also foods available for puppies that have been tailored to a breed specific level to address needs and common health issues for that breed, for example ADVANCE for Puppy Ooodles contains omega 3 and skin barrier nutrients for healthy skin and reduced allergy symptoms. See more breed specific foods for puppies.

Learn more about caring for your puppy.

Breed size nutrition for puppies

Breed specific nutrition for puppies

Tailored nutrition for adult dogs

Adult dogs require food that contains the right balance of energy and nutrients to support their level of activity and the body's normal functioning. This includes support for digestive health through ingredients like prebiotic fibres, antioxidants for immune support and quality proteins to maintain healthy muscle mass.

For adult dogs, tailored formulas target health issues that occur commonly in the particular breed or size. For example, ADVANCE Small Breed Adult foods contain heart health nutrients to support vascular health and cardiac function, while Royal Canin Adult Labrador has an adapted calorie content to prevent excess weight gain.

Breed size nutrition for adults

Breed specific nutrition for adult dogs

Breed size nutrition for senior dogs

As dogs age, their nutritional needs can start to change. Often there is a decrease in the amount of muscle tissue in the body and an increase in the amount of body fat, which can in turn reduce their metabolic rate and energy requirements.

Senior dogs may also have a decreased appetite and can be more susceptible to tummy upsets due to changes in their capability to digest their food. Cognitive changes can also occur as the brain becomes less efficient at utilising glucose as an energy source.

Tailored senior dog foods address these changing nutritional requirements, while also continuing to address commonly occurring health issues. For example, Pro Plan Bright Mind Senior Medium & Large Breed contains medium chain triglycerides to provide an efficient energy source for the brain, as well as omega 3 fatty acids and glucosamine to promote joint health and mobility.

Learn more about caring for your senior dog.

Choosing a food tailored to your dog's breed and size is a simple way to be sure that they are getting the nutrition they need to thrive. By addressing commonly occurring health issues proactively, you can help to promote their health, wellbeing and longevity.

Further reading

Premium Pet Food: Is it Worth it?

The Real Cost of Supermarket Food

Tips for Feeding Your Fussy Dog

What is the Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

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