As a human, your dog also ages and is relatively earlier than a human. As your dog ages, they experience a number of health issues, such as: However, age-related changes occur earlier in large dogs than in smaller dogs, which live longer. This gives us the clue to use size to gauge when it’s time to feed your dog a senior diet food.
A standard guideline to follow to determine how dogs’ ages relate to their size is:
Small breeds or dogs weighing less than 20 pounds – 7 years old.
Medium breed and dogs weighing 21 to 50 pounds – 7 years old.
Large breed and dogs weighing 51 to 90 pounds – 6 years old.
Giant breeds and dogs weighing 91 pounds or more – 5 years old.
Say no to diets that are low in protein
It is usually believed that dogs need less protein as they get older. This is far behind reality. Older dogs need as much protein as before. Studies have shown that older dogs need to be supported with adequate levels of protein and this does not open doors for the development or progression of kidney failure. In fact, it’s crucial to feed senior dogs optimal levels of easily digestible protein to maintain good muscle mass.
Pay attention to a low-calorie diet
Older dogs have been found to gain more body fat despite consuming fewer calories. Due to age, this change in the body cannot be stopped and can be triggered by reduced energy consumption or a sudden change in metabolism. Whatever the reason, it is of paramount importance to feed a low calorie diet to avoid any possibility of weight gain and the problems caused by obesity. However, getting the right protein levels is important to help maintain muscle mass.
Talk to your veterinarian about changing your older dog’s diet
Aging can have a direct impact on a dog’s gut function. It can inhibit gut bacteria that can cause the symptoms of gastrointestinal infections. When choosing a diet for senior dogs, make sure it contains FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides), which encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. This invariably helps with proper digestion and prevents digestive problems.
Choose foods high in vitamin E and beta-carotene
Antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene help scavenge free radicals, which can severely damage the body’s tissues and cause signs of aging. Senior dog diets should contain higher levels of these antioxidants. A good amount of antioxidants is responsible for increasing the effectiveness of the immune system in older dogs.
Stick to consistency
Never be inconsistent when it comes to the routine care of geriatric pets. In addition to a consistent daily routine, veterinary examinations should be carried out in good time to diagnose the presence or progression of a chronic disease. Stressful situations and abrupt changes in the daily routine should be avoided. If you want to make a drastic change in your older pet’s routine, remember to do it gradually.
In short, senior dogs are subject to a variety of physiological changes in addition to psychological changes. To counteract these changes, it is advisable to follow the proper diet recommended for older dogs. Two things are important – their weight and maneuverability. Not only do your older dogs need the right diet and optimal weight, but they also need regular health checks at a veterinarian’s office. Not limited to this, care should be augmented with the addition of nutritional supplements to support their physical health. By properly caring for your senior dog, you can help them happily spend their golden years.
Thanks to Taya Burnett