Young Pets, Older Pets and the Miracles of Marketing

Just what do we mean by young pets, older pets and the miracles of marketing…

It has been well documented that higher levels of protein and fat are required for growth of young animals — and that less is needed for older animals.

The pet food manufacturers have exploited this natural situation to the fullest.

People seem surprised when we ask them, “What level of protein do you feed your children?” We normally don’t worry about special or unique diets for our children, beyond infancy, yet the attention that this subject is given with regard to young pets strains belief.

Pet food marketers have succeeded in creating any number of niches for different formulations designed for pets of various ages. This may give them a “hook” for advertising and promotion, but the value to the pet is not clear.

But more is at stake here than just the silliness of marketing hype and the possible waste of money by consumers naturally anxious to do the best thing for their pets – it is the possible harmful effects of overfeeding protein.

Pups are fed more food per body weight than adult dogs, and so tend to take in more protein. Add to that the effect of “high-protein” diets for puppies and we see a potential for skeletal problems.

High protein intake could force growth of the muscle beyond the capabilities of the skeletal system, putting strain on the joints. We suspect a correlation between the advent of high-protein foods for growth and the rise in problems like hip dysplasia.

Land of Holistic Pets foods, by contrast are moderate protein–level foods. Because it is low in fat, simply add a little extra-virgin olive oil to the food to increase the fat intake for puppies.

Enough about the pups what about the older dogs, don’t they need special diets?

Concerning special foods for older pets, again, we ask whether you buy “older people foods?” No, of course not. So you don’t need special foods for older dogs.

At this writing, my mother (Mrs. Burns) is in her 92nd year. She does her own shopping. She doesn’t look for food for older people; she eats the same diet she has done most of her life, only she eats less.

Old age is normal, and eating less in old age is normal.

What is not normal are the many degenerative diseases which seem to accompany old age in our animals — diseases we might prevent if we paid more attention to the proper composition of our pet food and less attention to creating special marketing categories by age.