Like people, dogs get older and we need to start paying more attention to their health! They may be getting up a little slower and not getting the zoomies nearly as often, but we love them just the same. This is just another phase in their life and we need to support our furry friends. In this article, we’re going to specifically look at what kind of diets are best for our aging furry friends.
In terms of nutrition, our senior pup’s needs tend to be a little more complicated than their puppy selves. They need more of their personal needs catered to them and it’s less of a one collar fits all scenario when you go to pick out their food. Even if your dog doesn’t have a lot of health concerns, there are still some basic nutritional concepts you need to know:
Just like most human diets, pup diets start simple: going low calorie! Low-calorie diets are very important for senior dogs. The older your dog gets, the more laid back they’re going to be and thus, they’ll burn fewer calories. Their metabolic rates also shift significantly as they age and it’s completely normal, but because of this, it’s easier for your senior pup to become overweight or even obese.
On the other side of the spectrum, some health issues come with age which could make your dog lose weight instead of gaining it. Cancer, dental issues, diabetes, and gastrointestinal issues can cause a decrease in appetite in which case it will be essential to increase their calorie content to compensate for the decline in eating.
*Remember to consult your vet before any drastic changes in your pet’s diet. They will be able to put your pet on the plan that is best for them.
Let’s talk poop. Dog poop can be gross and happen at the most inconvenient times, but that doesn’t mean our sweet doggos should be uncomfortable in the process! Fiber content is something that really does vary on the individual dog and can be adjusted as needed. If your dog is constipated, appears to be straining, or even just not as regular as they should be–up the fiber content. If your dog has a loose or runny stool and appears to be going more often than normal–decrease the fiber content.
*Gastrointestinal distress can be a sign that something else could be wrong, if constipation or diarrhea persists, pay your vet a visit.
Everyone needs sodium, your pup included! Sodium will help regulate blood pressure, maintain good muscle and nerve functions, as well as aid in digestion. However, like humans, dogs can’t survive off of just a bag of chips and a Mountain Dew (you know who you are)! A lot of times, sodium content isn’t a problem, and your dog will be just fine with the sodium that comes in their food. But as your dog ages, they are more likely to be affected by the health problems that normal sodium levels can make much much worse. Think in terms of heart problems, strokes, dehydration, lower functioning kidneys, and diarrhea.
*If your fluffy friend is showing signs of any sodium related illness, give your neighborhood vet a call!
Vitamins are important for everyone, but we tend to slack on giving our dogs vitamins as they grow up. When they are young this isn’t a huge deal, but as they get older they’re going to need a little extra support so they can continue living their best life. The vitamins mentioned below are some common and basic ones your sweet senior could most likely benefit from:
Antioxidants | Humans get antioxidants from the fruits and vegetables that we are (supposed to be) eating every day. Dogs typically aren’t getting these nutrients nearly as often or as much as we are! An antioxidant supplement can help support your senior dog in a variety of ways such as increased mental faculties, a healthier heart, and improved joint health.
Omega-3 | Omega-3 is typically known as the “fish oil” vitamin! Omega-3 is quite sensitive to the temperatures at which food and kibble are cooked which means your pup isn’t getting nearly as much of it as you think they are. A good Omega-3 vitamin helps with improved cognitive functions, arthritis, kidney disease, and even improves the appearance of their skin and coat.
Probiotics | Probiotics are interesting. There is a lot of evidence that says they help with a variety of issues such as digestive issues, urinary infections, recovery from antibiotics, and speed up treatment options for a variety of illnesses. However, there is nothing set in stone or scientifically proven. Talk to your vet and see if probiotics are a good option for your dog!
Doggy Dinner Dining
Preferred types and brands of food are highly specific to the owner and the needs of the individual dog. However, if you’re just now getting started on catering to a senior dog, check out some of these foods that are recommended by experienced vets.
This senior dog food works to help your favorite fluffy pup maintain his weight while giving them a delicious meal. With ingredients for joint support as well as probiotics, your dog will love this dry food.
This dry food supports the smaller dogs in your life that have high metabolisms. With high amounts of protein and antioxidants, this food helps your senior to absorb nutrients and maintain a healthy weight. This wellness complete food health also comes in the delicious Turkey and Peas flavor.
The dog treat market has absolutely soared in accessibility, especially for our adorable senior dogs. No matter if you want small business treats or even if you just want to pick some up from a nearby pet store. You have options! But one of the easiest things to do is to offer up some fresh veggies (or fruits!). Here are some of the best snacks you can feed your pup, but be sure to keep in mind their chewing abilities if you choose something on the harder side, such as apples and carrots.
Apples: high fiber, contains vitamins A & C
Carrots: high fiber, low calorie, full of vitamin A
Sugar Snap Peas: high fiber, protein, vitamins C & K
Sweet Potatoes: high fiber, potassium, vitamins A, B5, B6, & C