What is considered a large breed dog, a senior, a puppy verses an Adult? 

Large breed dogs are 60lbs. or more as an adult. It is important to note that large breed puppies have special feeding requirements and some foods that are suitable for smaller breed puppies may not be appropriate for them. (See recommended foods below.) 

A senior dog is specific more to the health and vitality of the dog rather than age alone. 

A puppy may not be fully developed until one year for small and medium breed puppies. Large breed puppies can take up to 2 years to fully develop. Typically, the larger the dog, the slower the growth and maturity. Small & Medium Breed puppies can eat puppy formulas from 8 weeks to 12 months of age. Large breed puppies should be on puppy formulas for at least 18 months. 

The Critters & Me carries an extensive line of brands with grain-free foods such as California Natural, Horizon, Natural Planet, Petcurean, Pulsar, Purevita, Wild Callings and Zignature, and some high quality brands like Healthwise and Precise with grains and legumes. Below are some recommendations for brands that are particularly suitable for feeding specific life stages. Please consult with our sales associates for more details and questions. 

• Now Grain-Free Puppy
• California Natural Grain-Free Salmon
• California Natural Small & Medium Breed Puppy(Chicken or Lamb w/rice)
• Horizon Legacy Grain-Free Puppy
• Healthwise Puppy with Oatmeal & Rice
• Innova Prime Grain-Free (Any Formula)
• Innova Puppy with Barley & Rice 

• Now Grain-Free Small Breed Adult
• Go Grain-Free Adult
• EVO Grain-Free Small bites and Regular Adult
• Horizon/Amicus Small & Mini Breed Grain-Free Adult
• California Natural (Chicken or Lamb w/rice)
• PureVita Grain-Free
• Wild Callings Grain-Free
• Zignature Grain-Free
• Healthwise Adult (Chicken or Lamb w/rice) 

FEEDING LARGE BREED PUPPIES* (8 weeks to 18-24 months)
It is recommended to keep large breed puppies on these foods for at least 18 months. Large breeds include: Labs, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, and larger but does NOT include Huskies.
• NOW! Large Breed Grain-Free Puppy
• Innova Large Breed Puppy
• California Natural Grain-Free Salmon
*We DO NOT recommend feeding EVO to large breed puppies as its high nutrient density makes it difficult to manage the desired slow growth rates. 

FEEDING LARGE BREED ADULTS (18-24 months and Older)
• NOW! Large Breed Grain-Free Adult
• Go Adult Chicken, Turkey & Trout
• Horizon Complete Large Breed Grain-Free Adult
• Innova Large Bites Adult
• California Natural Large Bites Adult
• Wild Callings Grain-Free
• Zignature Grain-Free
• Precise Foundation
• Healthwise Adult (Chicken or Lamb w/rice) 

• Now Grain-Free Senior
• Now Grain-Free Large Breed Senior
• Go Grain-Free Senior
• Horizon/Amicus Grain-Free Senior
• Innova Senior
• Many other brands are also suitable for All Life Stages 

Wet canned food, like raw food, has a higher moisture content, so for dogs to get sufficient protein, they must eat considerably more canned food than kibble, which is more concentrated. 

Cats on the other hand need more moisture. They are originally desert dwellers so they are not inclined to drink much water. Therefore, it is a good choice to feed cats raw or canned foods first and kibble as an alternate or last choice. 

Cats and kittens have very similar nutritional requirements for most essential nutrients; therefore separate foods are not necessary. This is likely the result of cats being strict carnivores throughout lives and the fact that their historical prey, mice and small birds, are not nutritionally different whether they are being eaten by a kitten or a cat. 

If you have decided to switch your pet to a new food there are some important guidelines to follow to insure the transition goes smoothly for your pet and yourself. Many of the foods that we carry at The Critters & Me are unlike others on the market. Most of them are made from human grade foods with natural preservatives and are very nutritive dense. This means that they are higher in calories and protein which in turn means that you will feed less of these foods to maintain the optimum health of your animal. 

We suggest introducing new foods to your pet gradually. The following protocol has been used quite effectively:
1/3 new food to 2/3 old food for three days,
1/2 new food to1/2 old food for 3 days,
2/3 new food to 1/3 old food for 3 days, then 100 % new food.
It is especially important to follow this procedure if your pet is showing any signs of gastric distress such as flatulence and /or diarrhea. The key components to remember in a successful transition are as follows:
1) DO NOT OVER FEED! Remember that the caloric density is higher and reduce quantity accordingly. Your animals have a sense of caloric value, NOT VOLUME. In general, if you are replacing a lesser quality food, you will feed approximately 1/3 LESS of the new food. 

2) DO NOT SUPPLEMENT INITIALLY. In general these foods have been designed to be
COMPLETE. They do not require any added vitamins. This is especially important if your animals are showing any gastric problems. Please allow 6-8 weeks without any supplements to make this transition easier for you and your critters!
Note that due to the high meat content in most of our foods, the stools should be very dark. 

One of our guiding principles at The Critters & Me is that proper nutrition is the foundation of good health. But did you also know that many common health ailments can be traced back to the type, quality and/or quantity of food being fed. Different breeds and life stages do better with specific proteins and the inclusion or absence of grains and other elements. This is why most of our manufacturers produce a wide variety of foods many of which target specific life stages and breeds. The staff at The Critters & Me has been trained by the manufacturer’s representatives so they can recommend the best food for your animal’s situation. If your dog or cat has any health issues, please let out sales associates know so that they can make the best food and supplement recommendations for your needs.