Growing up – stepping into adulthood
You may be wondering if you are feeding your pet the right food for their age and life stage, or if you are a new pet owner, you may not even know what life stage even means! Life stage refers to the developmental stage your pet is at. This affects their requirement for various nutrients. The first change you might encounter is when your puppy or kitten reaches adulthood. But what does that mean in terms of their nutritional needs?
As our pets transition from one life stage to the next, their nutritional requirements also change. Royal Canin’s® nutritional diets are specifically formulated to support pets with age-appropriate nutrition no matter where they are in their life journey.
The Growth Phase
Puppies & Kittens are full of energy - exploring and playing, instinctively practising to be an adult. They grow rapidly and need 2-3 times the energy that adult cats do. This energy has to come from nutrients in their diet, including protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and they need to be balanced precisely for optimal growth and wellbeing.
Our puppy & kitten diets are highly digestible and palatable, and the energy-dense kibble is perfectly sized for small teeth to crunch, while the wet food in the ranges will stimulate the tactile senses, which are particularly important to cats. Many pets enjoy mixed feeding, but they are all individuals and will have their own unique preferences which you will discover.
With any feeding regimen though, it is recommended to follow our detailed feeding labels, as while diets lacking in nutrients can cause developmental problems, being fed too much of an energy-dense and highly nutritious food can also have the effect of unwanted weight gain-especially as their metabolism starts to slow down after neutering or as they age.
Transition to Adult Food
It’s generally accepted that when cats reach about 12 months of age, it’s time to switch to an adult formula. By this time, most have reached their adult weight and no longer need the extra nutrients that are so important in kitten food.
With dogs, it is important to note that large and giant breed dogs do not reach the adult stage until 18 or even 24 months. For these breeds, slow but steady growth is important to avoid orthopaedic issues in adulthood. Royal Canin® has created diet ranges for different size dogs that have all been formulated for the specific nutrients required by these dogs. Note the reference to size is the expected adult size, not what size they are now. Mini size dogs can move to adult food around 10 months of age, Medium around 12 months, Maxi around 15 months and Giant 18-24 months, for which they are all clearly labelled.
How to Transition to Adult Food
For the first few days, mix 25% of the new food with 75% of the old. Keep an eye out for loose stools that would indicate difficulty with digestion. Gradually increase the ratio of new to old over the course of a week or two if well tolerated. Mix 50/50 at day 4. Then increase to 75/25 at a week, and then a few more days and you can give 100% of the new diet if all goes well. However, some pets have more sensitive digestion than others, and if there are any signs that the new food is not being well-tolerated (such as any diarrhoea, vomiting, or loose stools), you need to lessen the ratio of new to old and stretch out the transition period a little longer.
The Breed Factor
Breed is also a major factor for determining specific nutritional needs our pets might have, as well as what pre-dispositions to sensitivities they may have. Many of these can benefit from specific dietary support. Royal Canin® has formulated breed-specific diets for many popular breeds of cats and dogs and are designed using the optimal nutritional profile for that breed.
The Ragdoll formula is adapted to give extra support for oral hygiene through a unique pyramid-shaped kibble that encourages chewing. Enriched with EPA and DHA, it also supports healthy bones and joints for which this breed can have sensitivities. Royal Canin’s website can give you detailed information on our entire range of breed-specific cat food.
Different dog breeds vary so much in their nutritional needs. Pugs, for example, can be prone to skin irritations (particularly due to their skin folds) as well as have a tendency to gain weight. This diet has a blend of carefully selected proteins and amino acids, including L-carnitine for assisted fat metabolism and added essential fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat. More breed-specific formulas for dogs can be found here.
For cats and dogs diagnosed with specific health issues, our Vet Prescription range is available exclusively through your Veterinary practitioner. These therapeutic diets can support a pet’s wellness in specific health areas and supplement other veterinary management. Royal Canin has been providing nutrition backed by science for nearly 50 years with the aim of giving pets a better world through offering super premium nutrition for the pet’s exact needs as they change, for life.