Feeding an older dog: Choosing his food well
Posted on October 19 2018
As a general rule, a senior or elderly dog characterizes the one who enters the last third of his life expectancy. If all breeds have their own longevity, it's when your dog becomes less active that the transition to a senior diet must begin.
At this time, nutritional needs change and your companion needs fewer calories and fats for more protein. Depending on the characteristics of the breed , it is often at the age of 5 for large dogs and 7 years for small dogs that the food transition must begin.
The diet of an older dog is therefore very different. To cope with the decrease of its metabolism, the problems of dehydration, the increase of the fat mass, it is necessary to adapt its food.
For this, you will need to increase the number of daily meals and give him 2 per day. To modify his food, same principle as a classic diet change. You will have to make the transition gradually by mixing the new formula with the old one while increasing the doses of the senior formula over a period of one week to 10 days until it becomes its only food.
What is the diet of an older dog?To provide a diet suitable for older dogs, you need small croquettes or other foods that are easy to swallow, with plenty of meat to give your dog an appetite, but also:
- little fat (10 to 20%)
- high quality protein (concentrated food with 18 to 20% protein)
- essential minerals able to protect joints like calcium.
- vitamins C and E to fight infections of the aged body. The traditional diet naturally offers these vitamins unlike a traditional diet or made "home".
How to feed your older dog with a "special senior" diet?
The processed foods for older dog will be your best ally. They take into account all the physical changes your dog faces and contain all the essentials that your dog (now aged) needs.
To feed him, you must feed him food at room temperature and kept in a dry, clean and airtight place. In this state, the food preserves as much as possible its taste and smell. Remember that a senior dog has less sense of taste and smell. Boxed foods should be taken out of the fridge at least 2 hours before meals to reach room temperature. In short, avoid serving a meal that is too hot or too cold.
Finally, give him food in a quiet place and away from your dining room. For older dogs, with difficulties to bend , consider placing the bowl at head height.
How much to give him?Follow the indications on the industrial food packaging. They give you a tendency on how much to give depending on age and race. Nevertheless every dog is different. You have to feed him enough, but not too much either. The goal is to keep him healthy .
Indeed, old dogs can quickly have weight problems since they store more fat. And that says overweight says health problems and they are many like diabetes, heart and respiratory problems or joint.
If you experience this problem, "light" foods exist with a special low fat formula that does not eliminate all the other nutrients the older dog needs.
To conclude, make sure that he has a bowl of water full at all times. Older dogs have a lower body water content than younger dogs. The risks of dehydration are therefore more present.