Date: 19/03/2024

Just like humans, dogs pass through different stages of development, from puppy stage to adult and senior. Each phase requires adequate care and nutritional attention to ensure a long and healthy life.

For the Brazilian Association of the Pet Products Industry (ABINPET), foods are grouped into groups or “families” that perform essential functions for dogs.

These groups form part of nutrients such as proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fiber and water, and “are essential for metabolism, maintenance of the organism alive, reproduction, growth and recovery from diseases” [1].

Therefore, it is never repeated to state that an animal diet needs to be administered with ingredients that are rich in the nutrients mentioned above, as well as offering palatability and digestibility to dogs, which, as we will see later, is a central theme in nutrition.

Thus, nutrition is of great importance in animal life, as it ensures healthy growth and maintenance of health. However, it is important to note that to achieve precision nutrition, pet food must be accompanied by specific characteristics according to their stage of life and development.

Puppy Stage: growth and nutritional requirements

During puppyhood, dogs are at a crucial stage of growth and development. Therefore, it is the most important phase of the nutritional process, which will determine the animal's future life stages.

Research in the area indicates that at this stage, a balanced diet must be rich in nutrients to support the healthy development of bones, muscles and the immune system.

Puppies need a diet that provides adequate levels of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.

A point of attention is to focus on diets specially formulated for puppies, even if an ingredient for adult dogs has the same nutritional compositions.

This generally occurs because puppy dogs require a higher protein content to support muscle and bone growth, which differs from the adult stage, when food is administered for maintenance.

Furthermore, food for puppies needs to have balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus, which also contributes to adequate bone health and development. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help maintain healthy skin and coat, as well as antioxidants, such as those present in Vitamin E, support the immune system.

Rodrigues Silva (2022) [2] points to the importance of formulations containing high-quality ingredients, whose proportions of carbohydrate, protein, fat and mineral sources are appropriate to the breed, size and weight of the dog, aiming to make better use of nutrients.

And, in this sense, the digestibility of the ingredient is essential to achieve optimized development and more effective performance. It is noted that some nutrients, such as fiber and carbohydrates, in excess are not digestible by the body.

It should be noted that crude fiber maintains intestinal health, however, when administered in excess or together with other nutrients, it can compromise the absorption of organic matter from food and harm the energy and growth of dogs.

In short, according to Rodrigues Silva [2], some nutrients for the puppy diet are essential and cannot be neglected. To understand the importance and interconnection of some of them, we summarize:

Amino acids: increase protein synthesis and muscular resistance, reduce fatigue, as they are a source of nutritional energy;

Proteins: provide an appropriate amount of all essential amino acids that the dog's body cannot produce naturally [3];

Phosphorus: fundamental mineral for the proper functioning of the body, it is responsible for the formation and maintenance of dogs' bones.

Lipids: provide energy to the body and can be absorbed from foods of animal and vegetable origin.

Fat: important source of energy, acts in providing nutrients for growth, also contributing to the palatability of food.

Therefore, according to GrandJean (2012) [3], puppies need to absorb exact amounts of nutrients and calories according to their rapid growth, as they require a higher level of protein and energy compared to adult dogs.

The author estimates that the energy level of puppies is 50% higher than adults, protein must be administered twice as much, and the energy supplied must be at least 25%.

Adulthood: maintaining weight and health

In adulthood, dogs have different nutritional needs than puppies. A balanced diet is essential for maintaining health and vitality throughout adult life.

Food for adult dogs should contain an adequate ratio of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to support energy and overall health.

Although, the amount of food needs to be adjusted based on the dog's activity level, size, and weight.

At this stage, owners must adapt the amount of food according to the intensity of physical activities, such as walking and recreational exercises, in order to avoid obesity and, with it, various metabolic health problems.

For adult dogs, in a maintenance state, the amount of food divided into three portions per day is recommended, without leaving the food unsatisfied. It is important that water is constantly available and always clean and fresh [2].

It is important to mention that, in some cases, adult dogs require foods formulated for specific needs, such as large breeds, small breeds, or dogs with food sensitivities.

In this way, the ingredients and feed administered must focus on precision nutrition, to meet the specific requirements of the species, which can be additional support for health, digestion and coat.

Senior Phase: nutritional needs

As dogs enter the senior phase, their nutritional needs change once again. Metabolism slows, and the immune system may need focused dietary support to maintain health in the latter part of life.

Foods formulated for senior dogs generally contain controlled levels of calories in order to help maintain a healthy weight, along with ingredients that promote joint health and cognitive function.

In the senior phase, the physical state and health of elderly dogs are a reflection of everything they have consumed throughout their lives, like humans, the most common of which are: overfeeding or lack of nutrients, which can cause bone problems, obesity , lack of appetite.

Therefore, throughout life it is necessary to manage ingredients rich in nutrients and that have excellent protein levels, high digestibility, antioxidants and fatty acids such as omega-3, to combat the effects of aging and support general health.

Animal nutrition must be constant during all stages of life, maintaining an adequate and balanced diet. And, in this sense, ingredients such as BioActio Health & Palatability, from BRF Ingredients, are an answer to promoting a better quality of life for pets.

Why include BioActio Health & Palatability in your dog's diet

BioActio Health & Palatability has several benefits that favor animal nutrition. A functional ingredient capable of meeting the nutritional and metabolic requirements of dogs, BioActio promotes better quality of life and performance for pets.

Rich in bioactive peptides: a highly palatable ingredient;

Highly effective hypoallergenic: reduces the dog's likelihood of developing food hypersensitivity, allergic reactions and food intolerance;

Highly palatable: produced with fresh raw material, has sensory properties and 13% free amino acids;

High crude protein content;

Low molecular mass: produced with fresh raw material, has sensory properties and 13% free amino acids;

95% Digestibility: easily absorbs nutrients, reducing the possibility of developing hypersensitivity;

Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitory activities.

Therefore, the introduction of a functional ingredient such as BioActio Health & Palatability benefits the health and metabolism of pets, as it is an enriched ingredient that, in addition to the advantages and benefits described, promotes immunomodulatory action.

Finally, as we have seen in this article, animal nutrition is extremely important at all stages of a dog's life, in which a precise and adequate diet plays a fundamental role in the health and well-being of animals.

By choosing foods formulated specifically for each stage of the dog's life, essential nutrients are ensured at each stage of life.

And as explained above, BioActio Health & Palatability provides the expected results of an enriched diet at all stages of a dog's life, generating functional and nutritional values essential to the pet's health.

Learn more about the benefits of the BioActio portfolio. Access: Animal Nutrition - BRF Ingredients.


[1] ABINPET. Manual Pet food Brasil, 10ª edição, 2019. Available at: manual_pet_food_ed10_01_capas_draft2.indd ( Access: March of 2024.

[2] Rodrigues Silva, Regiane Luz. Uso da Alimentação natural em dietas de cães. Monografia. Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás: Escola de Ciências Médicas e da Vida. Goiânia, Goiás, 2022. Available at: Access: March of 2024.

[3] Chef Bob. Entenda a importância da proteína na alimentação dos cães (2020). Available at: Access: March of 2024.

[4] GRANDJEAN, D., Butterwick, R. (2012). Waltham: Pocket book of essential nutrition for cats and dogs. Beyond Design Solutions Ltda. Available at: Access: March of 2024.