Do They Need a Special Diet While Growing Up?
Dogs definitely go through adolescence and require a special diet to ensure they stay energetic and healthy as they mature. According to Dr. Jeff Werber canine development goes like this: “puppies experience a Rapid Growth Phase somewhere between 8 and 18-20 weeks of age. They seem to double their weight monthly, and require almost twice the calories an adult dog the same weight requires. Depending on the breed and size, puppies then progress to the Young Adult Phase between 6 months and about 2 years of age. During this stage they begin to look more like an adult dog with a full set of adult teeth, and they near their adult height by just over six months. These young pups’ bones are still growing, but not nearly as fast as they did when they were three or four months old. By 1 ½ years, most dogs have reached their full adult height, and are now begin to fill out and put some muscle.”
Just like little kids when they are growing up, young adult dogs need a considerable amount of exercise and interaction to burn off excess energy. Nutritionally they also require a different amount of bone-growing nutrients, such as extra calcium and phosphorus, as well as DHA (an Omega 3 fatty acid) to help develop their brain. Since their growth rates have slowed a little, young adult dogs won’t need as many calories, this is why it is important to change it from a puppy diet into an adult diet once they turn 1 year of age.
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