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What You Should Include in a Senior Dog’s Diet

Puppies require special nutrients, but older dogs often need a different kind of food. As your dog ages, his needs change. Their needs for protein and fiber change and their calorie needs tend to decrease. A dog’s need for calcium increases with age. Many senior dogs may need more vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. 

As the years go on, your dog’s needs will change. As they get older, their mobility will decrease, increasing their risk of joint and bone issues. Apart from this, their metabolism also slows down. This means they are at an increased risk of weight gain if they aren’t getting enough exercise. The decrease in mobility also means your dog will need fewer calories than when they were younger.

Senior dogs are often overlooked when it comes to feeding, as they often need fewer calories than we may think they need. However, they can be very active, so it’s important to feed them a diet that’s high in protein, fat, and fiber. But which foods should you give to your senior dog? We’ve put together some tips on what you should feed your senior dog.

At What Age Is a Dog Considered A Senior?

Dogs give birth when they are about 2 years old. The newborns are called “puppies” until 18 months, after which they begin to grow their adult coats. A dog is considered “senior” at 7 years of age.

These Are Some Signs of Aging in Dogs

  • Excessive drooling
  • Dental Problems
  • Vision problems
  • Lumps and skin issues

Here Are Some Tips for Senior Dog’s Diet

  1. Nutrient Adjustments – When a dog reaches a certain age, its nutritional needs change dramatically. The needs of older dogs can vary greatly in different situations, which is why it’s important to adjust dog food to meet the specific needs of that dog. 
  2. Higher Digestibility – Often, our senior dogs are not getting the correct nutrition they need. A larger percentage of our senior dogs have issues digesting their food. They experience bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Many of these issues are a result of the type of food they are eating. Our senior dog’s stomachs and digestive systems, like humans, slowly deteriorate over time, which is why they may need food that has high digestibility.
  3. Softer Texture and Formulated to Fight Dental Diseases – Your pet’s diet is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Dogs, in particular, have specific dietary needs since they age more rapidly than cats. And older dogs tend to have more dental issues, so their diet has to be formulated likewise to fight dental diseases. (The same can be said for senior cats, though their dental needs may be more specialized.)
  4. Added Joint Supplements – You know when your dog acts a little off one day? Like maybe a little slower than usual or a little shakier? Don’t just assume it’s because of old age. Older dogs have more nutritional needs than younger dogs, especially ones with joint problems. They may need a little extra help keeping their joints healthy, like some supplements for joints.
  5. Added MCTs, Omega-3s, And Antioxidants – The elderly dog is a loyal companion. These dogs love nothing more than hanging out with their human family members and would do anything for them. However, one thing that they would appreciate is a healthy diet that includes added vitamins and micronutrients. It is important to give them the best diet possible to ensure a long and healthy life. Initiate a diet that is free of additives, preservatives, chemicals, and fillers. You can give them a diet that contains added MCTs, omega-3s, and antioxidants.

The Best Senior Dog Food?

Whatever you feed your dog may not be the best food for him. Just like humans, dogs have unique dietary needs. For example, some dogs have food allergies that can become very serious if not treated correctly. So, it’s a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your veterinarian.

It’s nearly impossible to find dog food that is good for all aging dogs. Some are allergic to certain ingredients, while others suffer stomach or digestive troubles. Besides, while some may be allergic to red meat, others can have problems with grains. And, of course, some senior dogs may simply prefer to eat more than younger dogs.

How Much Should a Senior Dog Eat Per Day?

If you have a senior dog or a dog of any age, it’s important to understand your breed’s specific nutritional needs. While all dogs need to eat, the amount they require changes with their age. Older dogs, especially dogs that suffer from arthritis, need to eat less and need even more nutrients than usual, including protein, calcium, and vitamins.

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