Lifestages: Adult

Adult dogs aged between one and seven years need to be fed a balanced diet to keep them happy and healthy. A dog may show preferences for certain foods, but they do not require a huge amount of variety in their food like humans do. It is therefore not advised to change varieties frequently, as this might upset their stomach. It is also important to feed the correct quantity to avoid obesity - you can pick up measuring cups from the till points in all Pets at Home branches.

To support your dog’s health, look out for a food that provides a complete and balanced diet, to promote these benefits:

  • Healthy skin and coat
  • A strong immune system
  • Dental health
  • Intestinal health
  • Healthy joints

Some dogs have special dietary requirements due to their health or lifestyle - take a look below to help you select the right food for your dog.

  • Overweight dogs
  • Working dogs
  • Large breeds
  • Pregnant dogs

Overweight dogs

Obesity in dogs is on the increase, with overfeeding and lack of exercise being the main contributing factors. In simple terms, if a dog eats more calories than they need then the excess energy is deposited as fat.

By sticking to feeding guidelines, avoiding too many treats and ensuring your dog receives plenty of exercise, you can prevent or at least reduce obesity. If your dog is overweight then you should take action sooner rather than later; this will not only make your dog feel healthier, but can also help reduce vet bills, as obesity can lead to a whole host of related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and respiratory problems.

Behavioural Symptoms:

  • Laziness and tiredness
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Constant panting
  • Struggling to get into the car
  • Reluctance to play
  • Barking without getting up

Physical Symptoms:

  • It may be difficult to feel your dog's ribs
  • The back may become broader
  • The base of the tail may seem thick
  • It may be difficult to see the waist

Top tips for healthy eating:

  • Feed a specially formulated light complete diet
  • Avoid feeding table scraps and snacks
  • Stick to the recommended daily food allowance – Pets at Home Complete measuring cups are available from the till point
  • Divide your dog’s daily food allowance into two or three meals
  • Keep your dog in another room when you are eating

A performance dog

Working dogs such as sheep dogs, police dogs and guide dogs often need more calories due to their level of work. A dog with a moderate workload may require 20-40% more, while a dog with a heavy workload will require an extra 50% or even more. It is often necessary to feed these dogs a performance diet which contains high energy content, as they may not be able to consume enough calories from a regular adult food.

A large or giant breed

Large breed dogs are those that typically weigh between 25-45kg when adult, such as a Golden Retriever, Labrador, German Shepherd or Boxer. Giant breed dogs are those that typically weigh over 45kg, such as Great Danes.

Up to 40% of large and giant breed dogs develop joint problems. Choose a large breed adult food that contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate, to help promote healthy joint cartilage and support overall joint and health mobility. It is also important that large and giant breed dogs are fed a diet that contains lower levels of energy to maintain a healthy weight, meaning less joint stress.

Pregnant dogs

Pregnancy and birth is a demanding time for animals, just like it is for humans, although a dog's pregnancy typically only lasts 9 weeks. It is recomended that in the last month of pregnancy and under the advice of a vet, expectant mothers should be gradually changed onto a small-breed puppy or performance diet, as these contain more energy. They should continue to be fed on this diet until the puppies have been weaned, as the food will also support healthy milk production.

Avoid under-feeding and over-feeding by feeding to appetite. New mothers with large litters may however lose their appetite during the last ten days, due to reduced stomach capacity. In this instance it is advisable to feed several small meals rather than one large serving.

Over 7 years old

Even though your dog may still be as active as ever, once it reaches seven years of age it officially enters the senior life stage. This is even less for Giant Dogs - around five years. It is extremely important at this age to make the transition to a specially-formulated senior diet to help keep your dog healthy and happy into retirement. To make the transition easy on your dog’s digestive system, gradually mix increasing proportions of the new food into the old over a period of ten to twelve days.