Diets fed to adult animals are designed to meet the nutritional needs of the average dog or cat. In fact, the average adult maintenance diet may provide more nutrients and calories than needed by the average dog or cat. Adult pets that are not neutered have higher daily energy requirements than pets that have been spayed or castrated. Most pets are neutered and have limited opportunity for exercise, hence more than half of the dogs and cats in the USA are overweight, and a third of them are obese.
The Maintenance lifestage should be further defined for those reproducing: pregnant and nursing adults. Dogs that are pregnant (gestating) generally have a 10-20% increase in nutritional requirements in the last 20 days of pregnancy, and pregnant cats have a 10-20% increase steadily throughout the 63-day gestating period.
Nursing Pups Lactating dogs and cats have greatly increased nutritional requirements for energy. Their caloric need can be increased by a factor of 2 to 8 times over non-reproducing requirements depending on how many young are nursing. When selecting a diet for an adult pet, these factors must be taken into consideration in order to optimally feed the lactating dog or cat.
If you need help feeding your pregnant or nursing pet, click on nutrition consultation.
Adult pets that have active daily lives, either in work or play, have higher daily energy requirements than pets that wait on the couch for their owners to return home. The working pet has an increased energy need which can be 2 to 8 times the non-working pet depending on the type of work activity and environment. When selecting a diet for an adult pet, these factors must be taken into consideration.
If you need help feeding your working dog, click on nutrition consultation.
The pet’s environment (indoor verses outdoor) also significantly affects the daily caloric requirement. In cold temperatures, increased energy is needed to warm and maintain normal body temperatures. In hot temperatures, increased energy is needed to cool (panting) and dissipate heat from the body.