It is sad how age creeps up on every one of us, but what’s more disturbing is knowing that our dogs are no exception.
Well, just like the elderly, senior dogs also need extra love and care. Part of caring for your older pet is being keen on what you feed them. As dogs age, their dietary requirements also change. Without further ado, here are seven things you should keep in mind when feeding your senior dog.
1. Be Sure to Feed Your Dog Food Explicitly Meant Explicitly for Senior Dogs
What is the big deal? I mean, dog food is just dog food, right? Well, think again. Like I mentioned before, as your dog ages, it’s dietary requirements also change. Therefore,
typical dog food might have too much of an ingredient, which may be harmful to your dog.
With senior dog food, ingredients such as sodium and protein are in moderation to avoid hurting your pet, especially if it has kidney and liver complications. Of course, there are many brands out there; for instance, Nutrisource Dog Food for Senior Dogs, Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food, to mention a few. So, you cannot miss one that suits your senior dog. However, consult with your veterinarian first, to know what is best for your pet.
2. Include Fruits and Vegetables in Your Dog’s Feedings
There has been a lot of controversy on whether or not dogs need fruits and vegetables, considering that they are carnivores. Well, the truth is, they have a plethora of benefits particularly on senior dogs. For starters, fruits and vegetables are a great source of water. Therefore, if you feed them to your pet, they consume a lot of water, compared to if they only consume normal water.
Vegetables help alkalize the body. When your dog ingests food rich in protein, the body becomes acidic, which is harmful to organs such as the liver and kidney. Well, by including vegetables in its feedings, it’s body’s pH levels are neutralized.
Vegetables are also known to contain phytonutrients, which are only found in vegetables. Phytonutrients help to stave off health complications such as cancer, liver complications, etc. As much as your dog is bound to benefit from them, remember to consult with your vet on what fruits and vegetables they should or shouldn’t eat.
3. Feed Your Dog Foods Rich in Fiber
Of course, dog food for senior dogs contains fiber, but some natural foods rich in fiber can even be more beneficial to your senior dog. High intake of the fiber reduces constipation and weight gain in your dog, which are very common in senior dogs.
4. Increase Protein Levels in Your Dog’s Feedings
There has been a lot of debate on whether increased protein levels are harmful to dogs, especially senior ones, but the truth is that dogs need a lot of protein. As your dog ages, it tends to lose its muscle mass, which means that there’s also a loss in protein reserves. This may lead to the impairment of its immune system, lack of amino acids required for body tissue repairment, and energy metabolism. You should, therefore, include foods that are rich in protein in your pet’s feedings
5. It Wouldn’t Hurt to Give Your Senior Dog Some Extra Supplements
This is especially important if you feed your dog a homemade diet and not commercial dog food, which might not have these essential supplements. Several supplements such as Omega-3 and 6, Glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate, etc. help maintain your dog’s brain function, reduce inflammation, to name a few.
Before giving your dog any supplements, always consult with your veterinarian to know what your dog needs and doesn’t need.
6. Slow Down on Fats and Calories
As I mentioned before, your dog will not be as energetic and vibrant it’s entire life. Well, dogs need calories and fats for the energy they need to engage in vigorous activities. As they age, they do not need it as much, so you want to feed it fewer fats and calories; otherwise, it would be harmful to your old furry friend.
7. Feed Your Dog Lots of Raw Food
Dog food is not bad, but come to think of it; your pet will benefit more from natural food, right? Fresh food has a ton of benefits, especially on senior dogs. For starters, fresh food has high-quality nutrients, compared to commercial dog food. It is also more natural and easy to digest. It saves a lot of energy from converting food into the necessary nutrients. It also has antioxidants that tend to slow down the aging process in your pet.