How To Feed Your Senior Dog Properly?

As your dog ages, pet parents become increasingly concerned about their dog’s health issue. In addition to this, there is another major area that pet parents need to pay special attention to: Food and nutrition. As your dog ages, their food needs may change. Though a dog’s nutritional needs stay fairly consistent through adulthood, mature dogs may need additional sources of protein and nutrients.

Tweaking your dog’s diet can help them maintain a healthy body weight with strong bones and joints to help him or her stay active and grooved during their golden years. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to senior dog care. Consult your own veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet — each dog is unique.


Address Any Dental Issues

Dental disease and tooth pain may very well be to blame for your senior dog’s lack of appetite. Proper dental care can greatly enhance an older dog’s life.

If your dog has stopped eating, however, it’s very unlikely that dental disease is solely to blame. As with all changes to eating patterns, a visit to your veterinarian is in order.


Add a Joint Supplement

Just as senior humans experience joint trouble, your dog is at risk of arthritis and pain. Vets recommend that dogs over the age of 7 take a joint supplement; for larger breeds, this age could be even earlier. Look for a product that contains MSM, chondroitin, and glucosamine—when combined, these ingredients promote healthy joints.


Add Fruits and Veggies

Antioxidants are prized for their ability to fight disease and the effects of aging. One of the best ways to do this is to supplement fruits and veggies, but some dogs don’t tolerate them or won’t eat them. In that case, vets will prescribe an antioxidant combination in capsule form. If your pup is open to it, consider adding berries, turmeric, and dark leafy greens to his senior dog diet.


Add Omega-3s

Known to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are good for your aging pup. Senior pets require higher levels of omega-3s for brain and heart health. Fish oil supplements are another option to increase omega-3s in your senior dog’s diet. It is possible to get too many fatty acids, however, so be sure to consult with your vet first.

Add Protein

Protein is the foundation of a healthy and balanced diet for dogs. For adult dogs, protein is essential for maintaining lean muscle mass and healthy body weight. Animal proteins like meat, poultry, and fish are best for dogs. Because they are complete proteins—they contain all 10 essential amino acids.


Keep A Healthy Weight

A healthy weight makes for a healthy pup at any age. When seniors slow down, extra weight is just as dangerous for our pets as it is for us.

  • Fixed feeding time and amount

Feed your pet at designated intervals at least twice a day to keep him feeling satisfied. If he eats too quickly, consider a “busy bowl” or food puzzle to stretch out mealtime and help him get the most enjoyment out of those calories.

  • Choose Healthier Treats

Commercial treats are calorie bombs and can undo all the work you’ve done portioning out breakfast and dinner. Fresh fruits and veggies would be a good alternative. For easy rewards, consider small apple slices (without seeds), pear slices, blueberries, mini carrots, or for frozen green beans.

  • Choosing the Right Pet Food

Feeding your pet the right balanced diet to maintain the correct body weight for his age will help shepherd him through his golden years. When the pounds creep up, switch your pup to a weight-loss formula that’s bulked up with healthy, low-calorie fiber. As always, consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your canine companion’s diet.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Underweight, Overweight or Just Right?

  • Underweight pets have minimal fat covering their ribs, and other bony prominences, like the spine and shoulder blades, may be visible.
  • Overweight pets have lost their waistline and there is such a heavy layer of fat covering their ribs that you cannot feel them.
  • Just right weightenables you to feel your pet’s ribs, but not see them. There is a gradual definition between the abdomen and the hindquarters.

Assess the Bowl

For dogs with joint trouble, a raised bowl will be better to reduce the need to bend. And it also can keep mealtime as comfortable as possible.


Keep Them Hydrated

Monitoring how much water your pet drinks each day is important, as well. Be sure to keep plenty of fresh water available at all times for your pet. Certain problems, like arthritis, can make it more difficult for pets to get to the water bowl, while others, like diabetes and kidney disease, cause pets to drink more. Be sure to talk with your veterinarian if you suspect a problem.

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