Senior dog nutrition

Senior dog nutrition becomes important as your dog enters its older years.

Similar to human beings, a dog’s metabolism slows and exercise naturally decreases, resulting in fewer calories needed, as they age. Specialized diets should be developed and individualized nutritional concerns should be addressed for your canine pets between 5 -10 years old. The age of dogs considered to be senior is dependent upon your dog’s breed. This is discussed in more detail in my page on The life span of dogs.

Well-balanced older dog nutrition will also consist of higher fibre content, as older dogs tend to be constipated, but should still contain adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein and fat.

You may continue to provide your dog with their usual food, yet in smaller portions to assist with calorie reduction, but optimum senior dog nutrition can also be found in commercially prepared products. These formulas generally consist of protein at 18% (14% protein for those dogs with kidney disorders), fat levels at 10 -12% and fibre being at 3 – 5% of total serving. They usually come as a complete dry food or tinned food to be added to mixer.

Senior dog food often has many beneficial additives such as vitamins, minerals,beta-glucane, omega 3&6, or glucosamine to name just a few. All are specifically designed with the older dog in mind.

The topic of senior dog food is a huge one which I can only touch briefly on. Prices can vary enormously and with some senior dog foods, the price can be extortionate. The best all round senior dog food that ticks all the boxes, including cost, that I have found (in the UK) is one called Mera Dog Senior. It is actually produced in Germany and is available from Zooplus. I have bought this for my dog Pippa for some time now. She likes the taste too which is important because she is a fussy eater.

Dry senior dog food will reduce tarter on your pet’s teeth, and allviate tarter build-up reducing the potential for gum disease. Dry food alone may become more difficult for your older dog to chew and to pass during a bowel movement. You can provide your friend with moistened dry food and also supply smaller sized kibbles to allow for an easier chew. Altenatively mix it with some tinned food. If simple moistening does not entice your dog to eat, feel free to add juices or bits from canned or cooked meats, or even finely chopped sweet vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, celery or carrots. Fruits, including apples, pears, bananas, rasberries and blueberries can also be part of a good senior dog nutrition program, as well as whole eggs, which are very high in protein. However, remember senior dogs digestive systems can be more sensitive so introduce only small amounts at first and steer clear of citrus fruits.

If your canine suffers from constipation, an additional supplement of wheat germ will help in alleviating these symptoms. Fibre supplements may also be used if your senior dog experiences recurring constipation.Also remember that water has a very important part to play in your old dogs nutrition. Dehydration can set in on older dogs due to lack of drinking caused by limited mobility or just plain forgetfulness.

As your aging dog may tend to experience debilitating joint issues or loss of bone density, additional supplements can also be a successful and beneficial part of a senior dog nutrition program. Supplements containing glucosamine or chondroitin will support your pet’s joint lubrication and overall health. Supplemental vitamins for dogs loaded with antioxidants will reduce inflammation and promote healthy joints and bones.

Dog Calorie Counter

Here is a unique calculator that will help you to understand how many calories your dog needs every day depending on things like the dog's age, weight, activity level etc. It will also help you to determine how much food you should be feeding your dog on a daily basis.

Dog Calorie Calculator by TrainPetDog


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