Sadly, our pet dog’s longevity is much shorter than ours, a dog around 8 years old may already be considered a senior citizen in dog standards depending on its lifespan. And just like with us humans, as a dog gets older his nutritional requirements change too. You may need to eliminate or add ingredients to meet the senior dog food with a suitable amount of nourishment that he needs. He may also start having more digestive problems and so if you want to be with your dog longer, be sure to provide him the healthiest diet you can give.
Your old dog requires an appropriate senior dog food diet which is well-balanced and which contains less calories, fat and protein but with a high fiber content to ensure proper digestion. These dogs, at a certain age, require a specific dietary pattern to respond to his special needs so a lot of adjustments are very much needed.
For instance, an older dog is at a higher risk of being constipated that is why it’s highly advisable to give him meals with high fiber composition to aid in his digestion. You may then need to include more fruits and vegetables to his diet or you may need to add fiber through wheat bran or lightly cooked fresh green beans. Moreover, it is suggested that dry dog food is given to avoid gum diseases by reducing tartar buildup. However, if your dog starts having difficulties chewing you may need to add water to his meal.
Unlike younger dogs, senior dogs may need much more vitamins and minerals for body repairs caused by aging. You may then have to add supplements to ensure your dog gets the right amount of nutrition. Of course, it will always be best to discuss this with your veterinarian first to be able to choose the best suited supplement for your dog. Be reminded that there are specific dog supplements specially formulated to help old dogs maintain good vital functions.
An aging dog becomes less active as well due to reduced energy level and his metabolism also becomes slower. This may lead to serious problems like obesity. Excessive weight will not only harm your dog’s heart and lungs but will also add stress to your dog’s bones and joints that may then lead to further problems like arthritis.
You may not readily see the symptoms as you see them every day, that is why it is important for the owner to focus not just on the weight but also on the dog’s physical activities that’s why they also need senior dog food and not normal. An old dog with labored breathing may have obesity although it may not show excessive weight. And as the years pass with less activity, it becomes harder for him to lose weight.
On the other hand, some dogs experience opposite effects of aging. Instead of getting more pounds they start getting unhealthy weight loss due to loss of appetite. To resolve this, try mixing beef or chicken broth to add flavor to your senior dog’s food.
Will you ruin your dog’s senior years? As early as his first few years, start monitoring his diet. Remember, prevention is always better than cure so make some senior dog food for your dog right away.