Life Stage Nutrition by Melanie Goulin RVT

Nutrition is one of the most important parts of your pet’s daily life. It has a huge impact on their health and body condition. There are literally a million and one choices, our goal is to help you choose the best one for your pet. Your pet will change diets a minimum of 4 times in their lifetime just based on life stages: newborn, development, adult and senior. You may need to change diets again if your pet develops any medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, renal disease, GI issues, allergies, etc.


0-6 weeks


You will have little to do with this stage. This is provided by mother’s milk. In her milk there are important things such as colostrum that help boosts the puppy or kitten’s natural immunity. At 5-6 weeks of age the puppy or kitten will be weaned from mom and transitioned onto a developmental food. If they do not nurse hand feeding/bottle feeding will be required – see the staff for appropriate puppy/kitten milk and feeding instructions.


6 weeks to 6 months/1 year depending on breed and time of spay or neuter


The focus at this point is growth and development. Puppy/kitten diets should have benefits that help with immune system, brain, bones, sight and hair coat. Look for supplemental levels of DHA and omegas. Large breed dogs should be fed a diet customized to their size as they grow at a very fast pace. The food should be specifically for large breed dogs only.


6 months to 7 years

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This will be the diet that your pet will be on for the longest period of time so it is crucial to pick a good one. The focus should be on preventing disease. We recommend a diet that helps with weight management or dental health, as those are the two most common preventable diseases. Owners of large breed dogs may want to consider a joint diet to help keep their pet’s bones strong and healthy.
Male cat owners should consider a diet with a urinary index to prevent crystals as it is a very common problem that cats face. A good diet should be able to prevent this as well as one of the above conditions.


Over 7 years


Seniors have many needs that may not be evident until it is really bad. Cats especially will naturally hide their pain and discomfort to protect themselves. Some diseases and conditions that can be prevented or treated with food are: arthritis, kidney disease, joint issues, loss of muscle mass, dental disease, weight loss and senility. We recommend a blood screen prior to a diet change to check for any underlying diseases. From there we can determine the best diet for your pet to be on. Senior diets often have increased levels of DHA, omegas, glucosamine, lower potassium, lower calories and/or increased protein.
At any life stage you can book a free nutritional consult for your pet with one of our trained technicians. We can help you by looking at your pet’s specific needs based on their breed, age and lifestyle.