As pet owners we want what is best for our dogs, and that is especially true for those that have been with us a while, but what about diet changes when our best friend gets into his later years? When dogs are growing they need plenty of protein and calories, and many owners do not realize that as our pets age, their diet should change in order to keep them healthy, even in their later years. Here we will look into what changes we can make to our aging pet, so that they stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
Many people think that it is alright to give their older dog the same food as they did once they reached adulthood, but the truth is our older dogs change, and so should their food intake. Older dogs tend to get more slower as they age, and they can also become overweight, often due to the fact they don’t run around, and exercise like when they were younger. Probably one of the most single important things you can do for your aging dog is to keep him at his correct weight, as overwolder dogs need specific nutritional needseight dogs that are older will find it extremely difficult to lose weight.
Older dogs generally require a well balanced diet with less calories, but a diet that still gives them adequate protein and fat, but one that has more fiber too. Older dogs do not exercise as much, so do not burn off the same amount of calories than when they were younger, this is where they can become overweight without their owner even realizing it. Having said that, an older dog’s diet should have a food that makes them feel fuller, with more fiber, but also has less calories in it, and because older dogs are more prone to developing constipation they usually are recommended to take in about 3 to 5% more fiber as they age.
Another problem with older dogs is rather than putting on weight, they have trouble gaining weight, and this can be due to them losing their appetite. However, this could be a simple problem, or something more serious. In addition, generally an older dog that has been used to eating dry food may now have trouble chewing. Therefore, a smaller kibble or even a moistened food may prove to be the ideal solution. Some owners of senior dogs have even switched to a homemade diet of boiled rice, vegetables, and chicken, which some older dogs find more digestible and seem to be more keen to eat.
Also, many older dogs need specific nutritional needs, so a vet may recommend supplements, for instance, feeding a supplement that contains glucosamine, and chondroitina may help with joint support. If your aging dog is not eating a properly balanced diet for one reason, or another then a vitamin and mineral supplement may be recommended to help replace any deficiencies. Senior dogs also require more water, because their ability to maintain the bodies water balance is decreased, and if your dog has a medical condition, for instance, diabetes then their diet should be recommended by your vet as he will have specific needs than another senior dog without this condition.
Older dogs go though many transformations in their body and are more prone to sickness and other health conditions, like arthritis, other joint problems, kidney, liver and heart conditions and more. The best thing to do with an older dog is to visit your vet regularly, and tell him of any changes you may have noticed since your last visit, especially if it is decreased appetite, gaining or losing weight, and anything that may at first seem not worth mentioning. Sometimes changing an older dogs diet is just the thing to allow him to enjoy his twilight years, and for you to both still enjoy each others company, after all, his golden years can be some of the best yet.