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4 Complete Nutrition and Diet Guides for Your Senior Dog
The moment your dog reaches its golden years (around the age of 7 to 8 years old), you may be asking what the nutritional needs of your senior dog are and whether changing its diet is necessary.
Just like you, your canine buddy goes through physical changes as it advances in age, causing its nutrition and diet plan needs to change as well. This is why it is essential to give your dog age-appropriate food to provide adequate nourishment for its ageing mind and body.
Here are our tips for you on what to consider when planning the nutrition for your ageing dog:
1. Shift to a low or higher calorie dog food
How many calories does your senior dog need? It depends on its weight. Some dog food for seniors is packed with more calories while others with lesser. Finding the right caloric requirement depends on whether your senior dog needs to lose or gain weight.
But most often than not, the low-calorie food is recommended since your pet mostly lazes around the entire day. It is said that a senior dog's activities drop to as much as 1/3 to 1/2. That being said, your pet does not need more calories unless it is underweight. In that case, your vet may require a high-fat nutritional diet plan.
And, we are not just talking about daily food but also the treats that you give. There's no problem with that but be a bit more choosy since most dog treats are bombarded with calories. Why not shift to fresh fruits and veggies for occasional dog treats?
2. Dog food to help with dental issues
If you see your senior dog struggling to finish its food, one possible reason is your pet may have lost a few of its teeth. It could also be painful gum.
What you can do is to shift to canned/soft dog food so chewing won't be a hard chore for your senior dog. These types of dog food are made with more moisture plus some ingredients that address the issue of dental problem like:
- Citric acid that stops the formation of minerals on the teeth.
- Probiotics or healthy bacteria for oral health.
3. Beef-up on protein
You may be wondering if there is there a need to add more protein? Well, it's because protein will assist in building and maintaining muscle mass of older dogs in the same way that protein strengthens the nervous and central system.
Remember only opt for the high-quality protein that contains real meat and no meat meal or bone meal.
Ideally, the diet of your ageing dog must contain more than 75 grams of protein for every 1000 calories.
You also need to take note that phosphorous tends to get higher as the level of protein increases. For senior dogs, a high phosphorus diet can lead to kidney disease. What you should aim for is the right balance of protein, phosphorous, and sodium to keep your dog going.
Though it is true that many senior dogs suffer from constipation but adding fibre supplements to your dog's diet may not be a good idea.
High levels of fibre will make your dog poop more, but the effect is less absorption of essential nutrients. Why? Because fibre can build a barrier in the small intestine of your dog that prevents vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from being absorbed.
To prevent your dog from being constipated, we recommend that you supplement your senior dog's diet with probiotics and digestive enzymes. Or, choosing a dog food high in fibre is enough for your constipated senior dog.
What are the health problems that can affect your senior dog's diet?
If your dog developed some health problems, we suggest that you seek guidance from a vet for planning your dog's diet and nutrition.
For example, if your dog has heart disease, it may require a formulation that is low in sodium. Protein must be from mid to high range and low level of fats.
Is your dog diabetic? If yes, your senior dog would thrive well in high meat-based protein that also contains moderate amounts of fibre and fat, plus low levels of carbs.
Is your senior dog having trouble with its bowel movement? Dog food that contains digestive enzymes, probiotics, and veggies can assist with the tummy problem of your ageing dog.
To take care of your senior dog, started by providing it with a balanced diet with the right amount of fats, protein, and fibre appropriate for its age.
You need to consider would he/she benefit from a low-fat, high-protein diet? Are supplements needed to ease joint pains? All of these factors must fit into what type of nutritional diet plan your senior dog should have.
About the author
Jaden is an author of mypetience.com, a pet blog sharing knowledge about taking care of a pet. He has more than five years of experience in raising small animals like dogs, cats, hamsters, and freshwater fish. What he is always focusing on is offering valuable and useful information to pet enthusiasts.
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