What You Should Feed Your Senior Dog
2 November, 2016

As our dogs age, we notice how they tend to slow down and not be the rambunctious puppy that they used to be.  And, that’s Ok!  We just need to adjust our outlook and change certain aspects in their life, including their diet.   The main goal in feeding an older dog should be to provide your pup with a diet that promotes good health and the ideal body weight.

Protein and fiber are very important in your senior dog’s diet

Protein as a main ingredient is essential in a senior dogs’ diet.   It is important to feed older dogs diets that contain optimum levels of highly digestible protein to help maintain good muscle mass.  Your dog’s diet should have an adequate amount of fat and more fiber.

Wheat bran can be added to regular dog food to increase the amount of fiber. If your dog has significantly decreased kidney function, then a diet that is lower in phosphorus will lower the workload for the kidneys.

Older dogs put on weight more easily

Older dogs tend to gain weight while consuming fewer calories (just as in humans!).  This change is due to the fact that older dogs don’t have as much energy as in their younger years and their metabolism changes.  That is why it is important to feed your dog a diet with lower calories to avoid weight gain, but with a normal protein level to help maintain muscle mass.  And, of course, keep up the daily walks even if your dog has slowed down a bit.

 Try to add some Omega 6 fatty acids to your dogs’ diet

Omega-6 fatty acid can help the maintenance of your dog’s healthy skin and coat. Although it is normally produced in a dog’s liver, the normal production of natural Omega 6 fatty acids can be lessened and/or diminished in older dogs.

Vitamin E is a great addition to your dog’s diet

Antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene help eliminate free radical particles that can damage body tissues and cause signs of aging. Senior diets for dogs should contain higher levels of these antioxidants.  Antioxidants can also increase the effectiveness of the immune system in senior dogs.

As our dogs age, make sure to keep up with your annual vet visits

It is important to make sure to keep up with your annual veterinary visits.  While you can be a bit more lax when your dog is younger, be proactive in getting your dog to your veterinarian.  It’s the best way to ensure that your dog is aging well and your veterinarian can assess the presence or progress of chronic disease.  Also try to avoid stressful situations and abrupt changes in your dog’s daily routine

Make sure to watch and gauge your senior dog’s health and diet more readily. They are much more sensitive as they age and not as strong as they used to be and we need to be prepared for that.

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