different life stages of a dog you need to know!

The nutritional requirements change at every life stage of a dog, starting from a newborn puppy to a senior dog. The feeding guidelines differ for all ages. Therefore, it is important to understand various life stages of a dog and what dog food to feed respectively.

Life Stages Of A Dog


Growing puppies require a high amount of protein and energy in their food which is essential for the growth and development of their brain, vision, immune system, bones and a healthy skin and coat. Hence it becomes vital to feed them puppy specific food. Small breeds are considered to be a puppy till 12 months and large breeds are considered to be a puppy till 15 to 18 months.


Protein and calorie requirement reduces for an adult dog due to which they require an adult dog diet. At this stage of their life dogs reach their maturity level and enter the maintenance phase which is achieved through adult dog food. Small breeds are considered to be adults once they are 1 year old and large breeds are considered to be an adult after 18 months.


At 7 years old, most dogs are considered Seniors. At this stage of their life they need energy just to perform vital body functions. There will also be noticeable decrease in lean mass and more prone to weight gain which makes it essential for them to switch to a Senior Dog Food.

Find Out What to feed a dog as per their life stage

1.Food For Weaning Puppies

Newborn puppies are completely dependent on their mother’s milk for nutrition. After they are separated from their mother and become a part of our family they will no longer have access to their mother’s milk and this is where a milk replacer comes in handy. A milk replacer/milk powder can be a perfect substitute for mother’s milk which contains all the essential nutrients required for a newborn puppy. A puppy can be on a milk replacer diet till 8 weeks old.

2.Food For Young Puppies

After puppies come out of the weaning phase, we have to introduce them to a high quality Starter food which should be highly palatable as well as full of essential nutrients. Starter food has the highest amount of protein among all types of dog food which is why it is even fed to pregnant bitches. A puppy should be on a Starter diet till 3 months.

3.Food For Growing Puppies

Once a puppy turns 3 months old, it’s time for them to switch to a Puppy food which contains a lesser amount of protein than a Starter food. Puppies are a bundle of energy and will require at least 4 meals a day to meet their requirements. Feeding puppies a good quality food will be directly responsible for overall growth in the longer run till the time they reach adulthood.

4.Food For Adult Dogs

Most dogs reach adulthood when they are 1 year or older. During this phase they need nutrition for maintenance and not high energy and protein rich food as required during puppyhood. Depending on the size and activity levels of the Adult dog we need to select the food. A large breed adult dog will require more food on a plate compared to a small breed. Also, it is vital that we remember not to overfeed an adult dog who is not very active to avoid overweight issues and obesity.

5.Food For Senior Dogs

This is a phase where dogs reach their maturity and are in the range of 7-11 years. This phase is often overlooked by pet parents as they are not aware until they notice that their dog has slowed down and is not active anymore like their puppy days. Therefore, it becomes vital to feed them Senior food specially formulated for maintaining their organ health, bone strength and a healthy skin. Taking care of all the mentioned concerns will keep your Senior Dog feeling active and go on stronger.


Considering all the above discussions, it is the responsibility of all pet parents to be aware of different life stages of their dog and provide them with the right type of food to enhance their dog’s life.