In general, a dog is said to be of senior age when they are in the latter quarter of their estimated lifespan. Diseases such as arthritis, obesity, heart disease, and cancer are more likely to develop in older dogs because of their weakened immune systems. On the other hand, maintaining a healthy diet might help lower one’s chances of developing age-related chronic illnesses.
There is no one diet that is best suited for senior dogs; nonetheless, the majority of diets developed for senior dogs have different proportions of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than foods formulated for puppies or adult dogs. If you want to know what kind of food is ideal for your senior dog, the best person to ask is his or her veterinarian. In the same vein, the following five guidelines can assist you in selecting a diet that is suitable for your senior dog.
1. Give your dog more protein to eat.
In a dog’s body, proteins are essential for the development of new muscle tissue as well as the upkeep of existing muscle. As they age, dogs experience a loss of muscular mass, which is one reason why they require around fifty per cent more protein in their diet. A diet lacking in protein may contribute to difficulties with movement. Some older dogs experience such a significant decrease in muscle mass that they begin to slow down and may have difficulty standing or walking without assistance.
2. Adjust the amount of calories they consume relative to their age
Because mature and senior dogs often have a lower calorie need, you may need to limit the number of calories that they consume in order to assist them in maintaining healthy body weight. On the other hand, really old dogs sometimes have a low body mass, so you might have to raise the calorie content of your pet’s diet if they are getting on in years.
3. Consider taking some joint supplements
When dogs get older, they are more likely to develop illnesses such as arthritis, which is more likely to occur if the dog is overweight or obese. When given to older dogs, some vitamins and supplements for dogs, such as chondroitin and glucosamine, have been shown to help delay the course of arthritis and joint deterioration. You might also give your dog a supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help fight osteoarthritis that is associated with ageing.
4. You might want to think about including DHA, MCTs, and antioxidants in their diet.
A dog’s capacity to learn and recall varies with age, just as it does for people; however, some modifications to their food may help mitigate the effects of these cognitive declines:
MCTs, also known as medium-chain triglycerides, are a kind of fat that may be derived from vegetable oils such as palm oil or coconut oil. MCTs have been shown in a number of studies to be an effective means of warding off the cognitive deterioration that comes with advancing age in dogs.
Docosahexaenoic acid, often known as DHA, is a kind of omega-3 fatty acid that helps dogs maintain healthy skin and coats, as well as cardiovascular and cognitive health.
Antioxidants have been shown to be effective in lowering inflammation levels while also assisting in warding off cognitive decline in senior dogs.
5. Improve the flavour of the food in order to make eating it simpler.
The majority of older dogs will have dental issues, which can make chewing unpleasant or even impossible. Consider switching your senior dog over to a softer, wetter, or canned diet, since these types of food are much simpler to chew and digest. In addition, older dogs often require more encouragement to eat, so reheat the food to boost its scent and stimulate your dog’s appetite. This is especially important for senior dogs.
Puppies who are having trouble feeding should be allowed to do it while lying down if they are unable to tolerate standing for extended amounts of time. Alternatively, if you find that stooping down to your dog’s food dish makes them uncomfortable, you may try giving their meals on an elevated platform instead.