What does the adult maintenance stage cover?

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A lot of people will ask if there is really a difference between puppy food and adult maintenance—and the answer is a definite yes!

Puppy food focuses on the massive growth spurts of young dog; puppies grow very fast—they grow in two years what it takes a human child 15 years to reach!

Puppies, therefore, need higher protein, higher fat, increased calories and an assortment of nutrients to accommodate their high energy levels.

Adult dogs, on the other hand, have lower energy and metabolism rates, so their focus is eating a very well balanced, quality food that includes the necessary nutrients. When a commercial dog food is nutritionally complete for the canine life stage it supports it means it has the correct balance of the nutrient and energy requirements for a dog at that life stage. While you can often take puppies off Growth and Reproduction at eight months (sometimes even earlier, depending upon breed), feeding an adult dog puppy food will almost certainly lead to obesity and orthopedic problems.

At the minimum, an adult dog food should contain the 8 building blocks of good nutrition. They include:

• Water: Too little can lead to dehydration and even death; drinking too much can result in stomach bloating or electrolyte imbalance.
• Proteins: Necessary for all aspects of growth and development.
• Amino Acids: Proteins are made up of amino acids and these amino acids are the building blocks the dog uses to make muscles, hair, skin and enzymes.
• Carbohydrates: Important for providing energy and fiber. They usually come from grains, cereals and plants, including brown rice, corn, potatoes or oats
• Fats: Fats are the most concentrated source of energy for dogs, aid metabolism and contribute to a healthy coat.
• Vitamins: The dog should have: vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, A, E, D, K, Pantheon, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin (also known as vitamin H) and Choline (often grouped with the B Vitamins).
• Minerals: Calcium and phosphorous for bone health; magnesium for heart-health; potassium for muscles, and sodium for cellular activity. They all must be in the correct radio; for instance, an imbalance of calcium and phosphorous could cause weakness.
• Fiber: The amount needed depends upon your dog.

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