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Nutritional Needs for Adult Dogs

Nutritional Needs for Adult Dogs

Dogs of different breeds or types will mature from puppyhood to adulthood at a different rate. Smaller dogs can be developmentally mature as early as 6 to 8 months, while larger dogs can take up to 2 to 3 years to finish growing! Regardless of size and age, as dogs transition into their adult years, maintaining their health is still a top priority. A balanced diet helps support vitality, fitness, and overall wellness.


When dogs finish growing, their energy requirements are reduced to maintenance levels. In general, a dog's energy requirements for maintenance are tied to their healthy metabolic bodyweight. Some dogs will have slightly higher maintenance requirements and some slightly lower, depending on their individual metabolism as well as their activity level. It is easy to overestimate the energy requirements for activity and most companion dogs are considered to have a low or light activity level, even if they go for multiple daily walks! Providing excess energy (aka: overfeeding) contributes to excess fat accumulation, resulting in overweight and obese habitus which plague companion dogs currently, so feeding an appropriate amount of food is essential to maintaining long-term health.


Though protein is still a key essential nutrient for adults, the requirements of healthy adult dogs are typically lower than those for growing puppies. It is just as important for the protein in an adult dog's diet to have a balanced amino acid profile and contain sufficient essential amino acids. To meet these requirements, you might consider incorporating Vivus Pets' plant-based protein treats, available in Bacon, Chick'n and Veggie flavours, into your dog's diet. These treats offer a complete profile of amino acids to support overall well-being and muscle development, ensuring your adult dog receives the essential nutrition they need.


Although dietary fat is still essential for adult dogs, their requirements are lower than for puppies. Excess dietary fat can put adult dogs at risk of excess energy intake and contribute to accumulation and overweight or obese habitus. While adult dogs do not have a known essential requirement for EPA and DHA as puppies do, these anti-inflammatory fatty acids can still be beneficial for overall health and wellbeing.


There are no dietarily essential carbohydrates, so a source of fiber is not explicitly required in the diet in order to provide complete and balanced nutrition. However, fiber is a normal and natural nutrient for canids (dogs and their relatives) to consume and can promote a healthy gut environment. Whole grains and vegetables are an excellent source of dietary fiber and can be utilized to provide a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can be fermented by beneficial microbes in the large intestine, providing nourishment for the cells lining the intestine and beneficial post-biotics. Insoluble fiber is typically less or even non-fermentable, and provides bulk within the gut, stimulating normal rhythmic intestinal contractions and appropriate stool consistency. 

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