Better health care, nutrition, and genetic background have added to an increased life span in dogs.
The goals of nutrition in the senior dog are:
- Diminish the signs of aging
- Slow metabolic processes related with aging
- Improve the quality of life
- Increase life span
1. At what age should I offer my dog a senior dog food?
Dogs of different breeds mature at different rates.
So dogs are considered to be senior at different ages based on size.
Small breeds of dogs can live longer than large or giant breeds of dogs.
|Dog Breed||Senior Age|
|Small and medium dogs (< 50 lb)||11-15 years|
|Large dogs (50 – 90 lb)||9 years|
|Giant dogs (>90 lb)||7.5 years|
2. What are the more prevalent health problems in older dogs?
Older dogs can suffer from a huge variety of health problems.
The main causes of death in the senior dog are:
- Cancer: nutrition depends on the type of cancer; generally a dog with cancer may not want to eat, or his appetite seems to fade away, you should choose a high palatable dog food.
- Kidney disease: choose food that has reduced levels of phosphorus.
- Heart disease: pick a low sodium dog food brands.
3. Does my senior dog have the tendency to become overweight?
The resting metabolic rate progressively slows down with age due to a loss of lean body tissue and an increase in body fat.
The decrease in metabolic rate can lead to weight gain in the senior dog.
Thus, senior dogs have a tendency to become overweight, so the fat content of the diet should be adequate but not excessive.
Fat contents in diets for senior dogs should vary from 7% to 15%, depending on body condition.
4. How should I choose the best food for my senior dog?
You should look for dog foods containing:
- Complex carbohydrates which have a low glycemic index, such as whole grains and vegetables
- Easily-digested protein such as lean meat
- A moderate amount of healthy fats (10 – 15%)
- Essential fatty acids like linoleic and alpha-linoleic acid
- Minerals and vitamins, including zinc, copper, selenium, and vitamins A, B, D,E and K
The choice of your senior dog’s nutrition should be mostly based on your dog’s general health.
Tips to ensure your dog leads a long and happy life:
- Exercise is very important. Make sure your dog gets lots of quality outdoor time like heart-healthy walking and running.
- Feeding a grain-free diet can help to prevent inflammation.
- Offer him healthy treats like veggies such as celery, carrot, broccoli, and cauliflower.
- Maintain oral health. Try brushing your dog’s teeth with appropriate dog toothpaste.
- Regular veterinarian check-ups.
- Stress is a silent killer. Love your dog, make him feel great, spend as much quality time with him as possible and provide a fluffy and supportive bed for him to rest comfortably.
Senior dogs need more attention, including more frequent visits to the veterinarian, possible nutritional adaptations, and in some cases alterations to their home environment.
*Disclaimer: We are not vets nor animal nutritionists. Please consult with your own veterinarian when choosing and/or trying new foods.*