What To Feed Your Senior Pet

If you have a dog in its twilight years, good nutrition is a priority you should never skip on. Just as they were a puppy, they need a balanced and nutritious meal to support their dietary requirements. But no dogs are alike, and those in their prime have varying needs. The dog food market is already saturated with commercial foods containing different nutrient levels.

To eliminate the confusion, here are factors to remember regarding senior dog nutrition:

  1. Allow Ample Protein

It was believed that older dogs should have strict limitations with protein, but it was debunked. Senior dogs at the peak of health need more protein to support muscles. Senior dogs suffer from muscle loss that they eventually lose the capacity to walk without assistance.

Choosing right pet food is a must for senior dogs to get an extra 50% of protein compared to the younger ones. The problem is that formulated diets for adults lack and don’t have enough protein to satisfy daily nutritional requirements. The founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention recommends up to 32% protein from dry foods for healthier dogs. Ideally, they need 75 grams for every 1,000 calories.

  1. Switch To Soft Food When Necessary

Senior dogs also tend to have dental diseases, causing them to lose their teeth. Bad breath is also one of the signs that your dog has an oral infection that should be addressed immediately.

You can help maintain their dietary requirements by switching to soft food. Choose healthy options that are fresh, raw, or canned. Your dog may have gotten used to their daily kibble, but it’ll be difficult for them to eat and chew.

If your pet is recovering from diseased teeth or gums, you can choose dog foods made specifically for dental disease that are the soft versions of the regular dog food variety. They may also contain dog probiotics that play a role in good oral health and citric acid (hexametaphosphate) to prevent calculus build-up.

  1. Offer Fruits And Veggies

Dogs of all ages benefit from small portions of fruits and vegetables added to their diet. It’s conducive to older dogs who tend to experience constipation. You can give them carrots, blueberries, pears, apples, cranberries, and sweet potatoes.

Dogs can also have wheat bran, fresh or canned green beans, or plain canned pumpkin to add more fiber. High-fiber dog foods aren’t only good for digestion, but they’re also preventing blood sugars from spiking and promoting healthy weight management.

Also, take note that not all fruits and veggies are good for dogs. It’s worth researching what you should avoid feeding them. Ensure to avoid grapes, raisins, cherries, and onions. Remember to remove the seeds or pits from the fruits you want to give your dogs.

  1. Special Diets For Specific Conditions

Older dogs can suffer from different diseases that need specific diets while recuperating. You need to adjust their diets for your dog to get the nutrients it needs. Here are some examples of conditions and required diets:

  • Heart Disease

Low-sodium diets are suitable for dogs suffering from heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight is also essential to help reduce the risk of slowing down or treating the condition. Omega 3 fatty acids and taurine may also help your dog cope with the disease.

Pet therapy concept, beautiful old irish setter pet dog looking
  • Diabetes

Like heart disease, it’s also crucial for diabetic dogs to return to a healthier weight and leaner physique. Their blood sugar needs to be at a healthy level. A high-fiber diet is beneficial because food is absorbed slowly.

  • Kidney Disease

Dogs with kidney issues should eat a protein and sodium restriction diet. When dogs overeat protein, it strains the kidneys during the synthesizing process. At the same time, phosphorous should also be limited since it’s linked to the progression of kidney disease.

  1. Supplements

Older dogs with conditions will also benefit from medicated dog food or other types of supplements. Senior dogs suffering from joint pain and arthritis need glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to help the joints cope. Note that veterinary formulations are appropriate and not human ones. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) can help slow the cognitive decline of senior dogs.

Conclusion

Senior dogs also deserve the love and care you’d give to younger dogs. It’s important to realize that their dietary needs change as they grow. They may get conditions or not, and it’s essential to keep up with the changes to maintain their overall good health or help them heal from certain diseases. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you plan and prepare.


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