The purpose of a senior dog food diet is to prolong both the quality of life and the lifespan of your dog.Lifespan differs by size and breed. On average small dogs live about 14 years and larger dog breeds about 10 years. Based on these numbers you should consider a small dog to be a senior when he’s 7 years old and as early as 5 years for large dogs.
Well, time flies when you’re having fun but this senior label is not to say your dog is old and should not be running and playing.
Far from it, in fact. To remain healthy and happy your tail-wagger should play and walk just like younger canines.
But… any dog is an individual and not all dogs age the same. When your dog is still very active you should not consider him to be senior. Putting your dog on a senior diet too soon can affect his health condition negatively. So… use the same method as when you determine how much to feed your friend: use your eyes!
Remember this: Putting your dog on a senior diet too soon, can affect his health condition negatively. So feed with your eyes!
Signs Your Dog Is Aging
Look for these signs:
- Your dog is getting less active.
- Perhaps he’s gained some weight over the years.
- His coat is getting thinner.
- His appetite decreases (as his activity decreases too).
- His movements seem to get a bit rusty.
- It gets harder to teach your dog new tricks.
Do you recognize (some of) these? Then please continue reading…
Dog Food For Aging Pooches
What’s The Difference Between Senior Dog Food And A Regular Dog Food?
A senior dog food has a slightly different composition as compared to a regular dog food. Some of the most common seen differences are:
- Fewer calories.
- Improved digestibility.
- Less protein.
- Less phosphorus (a mineral abbreviated as ‘P’).
- Less sodium (Na).
- More vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, and E.
- More unsaturated fatty acids.
- More zinc (Zn).
- More lysine.
Why Feed A Senior Dog Food Diet?
This question can be answered by looking at the rationale behind the adjustments in this kind of dog food (see list above). So let’s go and see.
Fewer Calories To Avoid Obesity
Fewer calories apply to the lowered activity as seen in most senior dogs. But perhaps yóur dog is only senior by age and still playing and running around like a grown-up puppy. Then this is not applicable in your situation. Otherwise, a dog that burns fewer calories should be fed fewer calories to avoid canine obesity.
Senior dog food has fewer calories, usually because it contains lesser fat. However, dogs need a sufficient amount of fatty acids, especially omega-3 and 6 fatty acids that reduce stiffness of the joints and reduce inflammatory diseases.
Fat is also an essential component in dog food because of fat solvable vitamins which should be present in any dog food. So less fat means that the remaining fat in the food should be of high quality to deliver all essential nutrients that are associated with fat.
Why Improved Digestibility?
When a food is very digestible it means your dog will produce less waste. However, when your senior dog has a low activity level his intestine motility is lowered as well, creating a higher risk of constipation.
So by adding more fibers to the diet of seniors, you stimulate intestinal motility which is a good thing in these dogs (providing the quality of the food is still excellent).
Why Lower Protein (But Of Higher Quality)?
Often senior diets contain fewer proteins and the reason for this is probably because of the assumption that an older dog’s kidneys won’t function at 100% anymore. However, not every old dog is a kidney patient. Especially older dogs need proteins to repair cell damage. So high-quality proteins are more important than just the amount of it.
Why Lower Minerals?
Some older canines have high blood pressure, but – again – not all of them.
Why More Vitamins?
Vitamin B complex has an important function in metabolism and nerve-regulation.
Dogs (as well as cats) can make their own vitamin C out of glucose, though adding extra vitamin C can be beneficial when demand is higher (in case of vitamin A and E shortage).
You Can Buy Senior Dog Food Conveniently OnlineMany different dog food brands sell senior dog food formulae. Click here to shop.
What else is on the menu?
Other special dog food diets:
- Does your aging dog have bad teeth and a smelly breath?
- Fat and aging dogs are at risk for canine diabetes.
- Is your aging dog getting fat?
- A low-protein diet for dogs with kidney disease.