Manufacturers began to introduce ‘life-stage’ diets in 1975, starting with a puppy diet. Five years later ‘life-stage’ products for other pets at other stages in life become widely available . For more information on the history of the pet food market please visit our Market History page.
There is a wide range of pet food on the market to meet all needs and preferences; this includes diets that have been formulated to meet the individual needs of specific breeds.
The characteristics of a dog or cat can vary between the breeds, from long hair to short hair, a tendency to leanness or to put on weight, or a tendency to a sensitive stomach. Breed specific diets have been produced to meet any specific needs that result from these characteristics. To find the right diet for your pet, speak to your local vet or pet care professional.
Complete: nutritionally complete, providing all the nutrients in the amounts and proportions the pet needs.
Complementary: These foods are designed to be a part of the diet; however they do not meet the known nutritional requirements when fed alone so they must be fed along with an additional food type such as mixer biscuits in the case of the dog, or hay, in the case of rabbits. All complementary foods are labelled as such with appropriate feeding guidelines
Life stage nutrition is the practice of feeding pets specific foods designed to meet their needs at a specific age or during a specific physiologic state such as pregnancy. By feeding to meet the needs of pets at varying life stages, owners can be sure they are providing their pet with optimum nutrition.
Pet food manufacturers first started formulating life stage pet foods in the early to mid 1970s, when a puppy diet was formulated. Life stage diets became more widely available on the market from the 1980s onwards.
Today life stage diets are not only available for cats and dogs but also iguanas and bearded dragons! Feeding the optimum nutrients for a specific life stage is aimed at supporting healthy longevity of all pets.
LIFE STAGE FOODS FOR DOGS AND CATS:
What are the nutritional needs of dogs and cats at the varying life stages and how does the food address this?
Puppies and Kittens
LIFE-STAGE FOODS FOR PETS
LIFE-STAGE FOODS FOR PETS
Particular attention should be paid to appetite and body weight, as this may reduce as a dog gets very old. Always consult a vet if worried about changes in a dog’s weight.
PFMA conducted some market research in to what influences pet food buying decisions. Our research highlighted that 96% of owners say enjoyment by their pet is the key determinant when choosing pet food. The format of the food is next up (89%) followed by suitability (e.g. for older pets). Product benefits (e.g. calcium for healthy teeth and bones), variety and brand are other key determinants. The data shows that brand loyalty is high, with the majority of pet owners having one or two favourite brands that they return to.
Many thanks for your email. I'm afraid we don't know the answer to your question and would suggest that you contact one of the following veterinary bodies:
BSAVA - British Small Animal Veterinary Association - Tel: 01452 726700
BVA - British Veterinary Association - Tel: 020 7636 6541 Email: email@example.com
RCVS - Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons - Tel: 020 7222 2001 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whilst it is not impossible to provide a nutritionally balanced homemade diet for your pets, it does require a good level of research with advice and guidance from the relevant experts - a vet or animal nutritionist. Your local vets will have recommended the NRC Guidelines, as this is a key authorative document detailing the nutritional needs of cats and dogs at the varying life stages. It has been produced by eminent veterinary nutritionists. FEDIAF, the European Pet Food Association produce a more succinct form for pet food manufacturers to follow to ensure that diets supply all the nutrients pets needs. Any homemade diet you provide will need to be tailored to your pets individual needs and should take into consideration factors such as life stage and lifestyle, for instance how old your pets are? Are your pets active? As it is a tailored approach, you will need to find a vet or animal nutritionist who can help you with this. You may need to broaden your search of vets to find someone with a particular expertise in this area.