As humans, your dog too ages and it is relatively earlier than a humans age. With age, numerous health issues arise in your dog such as deterioration of skin and coat, loss of muscle mass, digestion issues, obesity, arthritis, dental problems and decreased ability to fight back infections. However, large size dogs experience age-related changes earlier compared to smaller dogs who live longer. This gives us the hint to estimate when it is a time to feed your canine a senior diet food based on the size.
A standard guideline to follow to determine how dogs age related to their size is:
- Small breeds or dogs weighing less than 20 pounds – 7 years of age.
- Medium breeds and dogs weighing 21 to 50 pounds – 7 years of age.
- Large breeds and dogs weighing 51 to 90 pounds – 6 years of age.
- Giant breeds and dogs weighing 91 pounds or more – 5 years of age.
Say no to diets that have low level of proteins
Normally, it is believed that as dogs age, they require less amount of proteins. This is far behind the real fact. Senior dogs require as much protein as they were taking previously. Studies have proven that older dogs need to be facilitated with proper level of proteins, and this does not open gateways to the development or progress of renal failures. It is even crucial to feed senior dogs with optimal levels of easily digestible proteins to help retain good muscle mass.
Ensure to Provide Low-Calorie Diet
Senior dogs have been recorded to attain an extra body fat in spite of consuming fewer calories. Due to the age, this change in a body is unstoppable and may be triggered due to reduced energy spending or a sudden change in metabolism. Whatever the reason is, it is paramount to feed a low-calorie diet to avoid every possible weight gain and the problems arising due to obesity. However, meeting the proper protein level is important to support in retaining muscle mass.
Talk to your vet regarding the change of diet of your older dog
Aging can directly affect a dog's intestinal function. It can hamper intestinal bacteria, which can surface the symptoms of gastrointestinal infections. When selecting a senior dog diet, ensure it contains FOS (fructooligosaccharides) that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, this invariably helps in proper digestion, preventing any digestive issues.
Pick foods with high ratio of vitamin E and Beta-carotene
Antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene help in removing free radicals that can seriously damage the tissues of the body and can cause signs of aging. Senior dog diets should contain higher levels of these antioxidant compounds. Good amount of antioxidants is responsible for increasing the effectiveness of the immune power in older dogs.
Stick to Consistency
Never be inconsistent when it comes to a routine care of geriatric pets. Along with consistent daily routine, timely veterinary examinations should be involved to diagnose the presence or progress of a chronic disease. Stressful situations and abrupt changes in daily routines should be shunned. In case, you are looking to make a drastic change in your older pet's routine, remember to put it on a regular scale.
In a nutshell, senior dogs undergo a variety of physiological changes along with psychological changes. To tackle these changes, it is advisable to follow the right diet that is recommended for older dogs. Two things to care – their weight and agility. Your older dogs need not only proper diet and optimal weight but also regular health checkups at a vet office. Not limited to this, the care should be extended in adding the nutritional supplements to aid their physical health. Well, taking proper care of your older dog, you can help them pass their golden years happily.
Source of A Senior Dog Health Management – Rich Diet, Exercise, Vet Checkups & Supplements by Taya Burnett – author of A Senior Dog Health Management – Rich Diet, Exercise, Vet Checkups & Supplements article