Do Senior Dogs Need Special Food?


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Having a dog as a pet has its own advantages and disadvantages. While your dog acts as your best friend by giving you company when alone, you can also expect it to make exacting nutritional demands. The nutritional requirements of dogs are different from any other pets, and they become even more exacting as the dog grows old. If your dog is getting slower and older, you may be fretful about its diet. You may have even noticed that your dog no longer ate the way it used to, making it look as if it has given up on food. No matter what the case may be, you need to realize that your dog has aged and attained seniority.

When should you consider switching your dog's diet?

Switching your dog's diet is a tough decision, which depends greatly on the breed and weight of the dog. Fred Metzger, DVM, Diplomat ABVP says that larger breeds of dogs tend to age faster than leaner and smaller breeds. As a rule of thumb, dogs attain old age when they have reached half of their life expectancy. Bigger dogs have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, while smaller dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Bigger dogs are considered โ€œseniorโ€ when they are around 6 years, while smaller dogs are considered old at around 8 or 9 years. Dogs also develop kidney and liver issues, which may prompt you to change your dog's diet at some point.

What kind of food is suitable for senior dogs?

Since obesity and gastrointestinal problems are common in senior dogs, they should be given low-calorie and high-fiber diets. It is important that you feed you dog with food that is appropriate to their life's stage. Healthy, low-fat, low-sodium snacks should be served to dogs when they age to prevent them from developing heart, kidney and liver diseases. It is also important for you to ensure that your dog maintains a proper intake of water because the ability to maintain water balance reduces as they age.All dogs benefit from eating fruits and vegetables, specially when they are old and more susceptible to constipation. Fiber-rich foods such as wheat bran, steamed green beans, or canned pumpkins can do great to your dog's health. You should definitely focus on extra nutrients in the form of Vitamin E, beta-carotene, antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids to boost your dog's immunity. Not only do these nutrients reinforce the immune system, but also burnishes the dog's coat and skin, and assists in healthy digestion.You are sure to find a huge number of nutritional supplements in the market, but it is always recommended that you consult a vet before buying them. In fact, vets can assist you in formulating a proper diet chart comprising homemade foods for your senior dog, and keeping health issues at bay.

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