ASK AN EXPERT
QUESTION: Regarding life stages, the bag of food says for all life stages on the puppy and adult formulas. Can you please explain all life stages food? Thank you
ANSWER: AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) defines nutrient level requirements for two categories; Adult Maintenance, and Growth and Reproduction. The majority of essential nutrients listed by AAFCO have a minimum requirement, but no defined maximum, and for those with defined maximums, the acceptable range is typically quite large.
Growth and Reproduction are life phases with increased nutrient requirements. A formula with nutrient levels above the minimum requirements for growth and reproduction will automatically also be above the minimum nutrient requirements for adult maintenance, so legally, a pet food company is permitted to claim “all life stages” in the AAFCO statement if it chooses. While it may seem more convenient to offer the same formula regardless of age and activity level,, if you would like your pet to thrive throughout their whole life I believe that you need to tailor their nutrition to the specific needs of each life stage.
Puppies have different nutrient requirements while they are growing than their adult counterparts. Senior pets require additional support as they age in order to maintain healthy organs. Even the life style of a dog will change through its different life stages. A once very active puppy will not have the same activity level as a senior dog. Not only will the energy requirements differ at different life stages but levels of vitamins and minerals can be tailored to specifically support the different needs of each life stage.
It is important when choosing a formula that you consider the needs of your dog and the nutrients provided in the formula to meet those needs.
Culled from: http://www.petfoodnutrition.com/ask-an-expert/