The Best Senior Dog Foods
Not only humans are noticing the passage of time in our bodies. Dogs, like us, also feel the weight of years. And when they are older is when they need more care. Diet should adapt to your teeth (which also age) and less physical activity. But not everything is bad in old age, there are also many positive aspects.
Older dogs are calmer, which is less tiring for their owners. They also enjoy much more the moments of peace lying on a sofa, since they are not constantly thinking about playing as they did before. But, as we mentioned in the previous paragraph, they do require other care, mainly in relation to food. Pay attention!
The most important
- Small dogs take longer to “grow old”, while a large dog is already old as of five years of age. However, there are other aspects that will condition this factor.
- With age, dogs become calmer and their physical activity is reduced, so they need foods with fewer calories. Also, a good dose of protein will improve your muscle mass.
- When buying food, you should look to indicate specifically that it is for an elderly or senior dog . On the other hand, you can search for a product with accessories to meet your specific needs.
Best Senior Dog Food : Our Favorites
- The best senior food for medium and large breeds
- The best senior feed for small breeds
- The best premium quality senior food
- The best senior food for dogs over 8 years old
Shopping Guide: What You Should Know About Senior Dog Food
Old age is a period when we begin to feel some physical pain or impediments, but it is still a part of the cycle of life. In order for your dog to be a happy old man, there are certain changes that you must make. His needs are no longer the same as when he was young and neither should his food. In this guide we answer the most common questions regarding senior dog food .
At what age should I start giving senior food to my dog?
As a general rule, a dog reaches its old stage around the age of seven. However, this varies by breed, as not all dogs age at the same age. You can ask the veterinarian about the physical condition of your pet to indicate if it is time to change their diet. Other clues for you to know if your dog has already reached old age are these:
- The size of the animal influences. Size and race play an important role in life stages. Some large dogs begin to be adults older than five years. Small breeds become elderly around the age of ten. Medium-sized dogs do so at about seven years of age. ( 1 ) .
- The races condition the stages of life. There are races that arrive later in old age and also tend to live longer. For example, beagle, shih tzu or chihuahua dogs, among others.
- There are physical characteristics that appear. The dog happens to have gray hair, arthritis, the pads of his paws are dry, he has urinary incontinence and he can lose vision and hearing.
- There are exceptions. If you see that your dog is old but does not have health problems, maintains its weight and remains just as active as in its adult years, you can continue feeding it the same food until this changes.
Why does an older dog need different food than a young adult?
There are many changes that the canine body goes through over the years and the diet must vary to adjust to the situation. For this reason, some “little help” in the form of vitamins and food supplements in your daily food can be very useful for your pet. In this way, you will be able to cope with age problems such as joint pain. Also, the metabolism slows down, the activity decreases and the dog requires less calories. In fact, it is recommended that their amount be between 8% and 12% less than when the animal is younger ( 2 ) . The elderly also have a tendency to constipate, so a little more fiber could do no harm to improve your intestinal transit.
What happens if my elderly dog ignores his senior food ?
In case your dog is apathetic towards food, the first thing to keep in mind is that it is more natural for him to eat less than when he was an adult. This is because you no longer spend hours running and playing, so you spend less energy. Anyway, first make sure the problem isn’t that he doesn’t like the food. If so, try a different brand. If your beloved animal is very old, it may not see or smell food. Put it closer. Also check that you have no chewing problems. If so, you will need soft, moist food. Depression also leads dogs to not eat. Keep walking with him even if it costs him. If you have memory problems, you may forget to eat.
The feeding of the older dog does not vary excessively with respect to the diet of the rest of the life stages of the dog. However, we must bear in mind that, as an elderly person, a dog needs more quality proteins , less fat, and very few carbohydrates, since decreased physical activity and loss of muscle mass will mark senescence. In this article we explain what the nutritional needs of an older dog are and what foods are most recommended , and we offer you a series of keys and tips for correct nutrition.
We can consider that a dog enters the elderly between 7 and 11 years of age . As in human beings, it is a new stage full of changes, both physically and behaviorally; changes that we must pay attention to in order to provide all the necessary care. Some signs of aging evident in our partner could be some loss of mobility or less resistance to certain games , deterioration of the coat, or dental problems , but it is also likely that new behaviors will appear, such as greater attachment to the figure of the caregiver, some apathy, or bad mood.
It is often said that larger dog breeds are less long-lived than younger breeds. It is a simple matter of genetics. However, the life habits and care of the animal will also influence its longevity . Thus, the practice of routine exercise , affection and good treatment, together with the necessary veterinary check-ups, are going to be key in the quality and duration of the dog’s life .
Less fat, and more quality protein for the older dog
Its diet also plays an important role, so we must pay attention to its quality and the nutritional requirements of the dog , since these will change with each stage. For an older dog, an adult dog, or a puppy , have different nutritional needs “essentially and scientifically”, which is why he insists that we must be more careful with the feeding and adapt it to the age of the animal, “especially with a puppy and an elderly dog.”
Although a puppy or young dog from weaning (breast milk provides not only optimal nutrition, but also immune defenses) needs a diet rich in fat and protein, as it matures, fats will gradually lose their leadership. The proteins, however, remain very important to fulfill our dog years more health: “The essence of the diet is the same for all ages, but in the case of an elderly dog and a puppy is important to give more protein and of better quality ”, explains the vet. The reason is that in the case of the puppy, proteins are necessary for its development and, in the case of the older dog, to renew the loss of muscle mass that occurs as a consequence of aging.
Senior dog feeding
The feeding of the elderly, older or senior dog is extremely important, it has different needs than an adult dog. For this it is essential to follow these tips:
- An elderly dog should be proportionate , it should not be obese. Maintaining an optimal figure is very beneficial since we prevent our dog from loading excessive weight on its bones and muscles.
- To ensure that your dog is well fed, it is important to go to the vet every 6 months to do an analysis and a general review, ruling out anemia or other problems.
- If your dog is in good physical shape and eats without problem, you should change its diet to light or senior feed . These feeds have fewer calories and are specific to this stage of your life. Remember that it must be a quality food.
- If, on the other hand, the senior dog is too thin, the ideal is that we try to make him gain weight by means of fat-rich puppy food.
- If you notice that your dog does not drink water frequently, you can try adding chicken or fish broth to the feed (if you accept it). You can also increase the consumption of pates and wet food, rich in water.
- Your dog should have plenty of fresh, clean water.
- At this stage of your life your teeth may be damaged, forget about giving him hard bones to gnaw on, it is preferable to use an apple for it.
- It can happen that the dog eats and spits out its food, or that it simply does not want to eat. In these cases we advise you to look for a higher quality feed and even occasionally prepare homemade diets. Go to the vet if you don’t eat.
- You can add vitamins to your dog’s diet if you consider that it needs an extra energy, you can consult the vet or a pet store how you should administer them.
- If your elderly dog eats too quickly and you are afraid that it will suffer gastric torsion, you can spread the feed on clean and disinfected soil. This will help him use his nose and he will eat more slowly.
- Remember that sometimes older dogs with problems such as senile dementia may be eating and leaving (forgetting that they are eating) in these cases we recommend monitoring during intake.
- It can also happen that the senior dog that suffers deafness or loss of vision does not want to eat if you are close, it is normal, offering confidence by staying close is a good idea.
If we do not feed or hydrate our elderly dog correctly, serious problems such as kidney failure or heart problems can appear. It is important to check and verify that our dog is adequately fed.
What is better for an elderly dog: wet or dry senior food ?
Both types of food are very necessary, both for young dogs and for adults and the elderly. Its characteristics complement each other to be able to offer different advantages to the body of these loving furry. It is recommended to combine both variants. In the following table, you will be able to know the advantages that each type of food offers:
|Benefits of dry senior food||Benefits of wet senior food|
|Strengthens teeth as the animal chews. It is very important, since in adulthood the teeth become weaker.||Those dogs that are toothless, or whose teeth have lost strength over the years, sometimes cannot chew and wet food is the only way to feed.|
|A quality food contains high percentages of protein, necessary to maintain the muscle mass of an elderly dog. In contrast, wet food cannot contain much protein, since most of the food is water.||It has large amounts of water, so it also serves to hydrate them. Dogs tend to love this texture.|
Now that you know your pet better and know what type of food it needs, it’s time for you to choose the best senior dog food . But before you must consider certain very important criteria that will help you choose the most suitable product for your dog’s specific needs. Here we detail them:
- Complements according to needs
Senior dog food is composed of natural ingredients that should be in amounts according to the nutritional needs of your pet. Meat, fish and their derivatives will be very necessary for an “old” animal. Also grains (such as rice or wheat) and vegetables. The most common ingredients that can be found are:
- Red meat, chicken or lamb. They offer the necessary protein. The product will indicate the percentage of meat in the food. The more protein you have, the better quality it will be.
- By-products of animal origin. You have to look at how much of the protein is meat and how much is a by-product of animal origin. In the second case, it refers to parts of the body that a human does not consume, such as cartilage, feathers, beaks or crushed hooves. This makes the food of low quality.
- Fish. It also offers essential protein for an older dog, in addition to omega 3 and vitamins A and D. Salmon is one of the most common. It can be the fish itself or parts of it that are not used to sell to human consumers (such as guts). The packaging must specify it.
- Cereals. It can be wheat or rice. They offer carbohydrates and some vitamins from group B. For older dogs it is recommended that they be whole (mostly) to offer the necessary fiber that their digestive system needs.
- Vegetables. There is a wide variety. They offer plant protein, minerals, fiber and various vitamins that an elderly dog needs.
- Salt and sugar. Both are necessary, especially to give the food a better flavor, but in small quantities. Salt provides certain useful minerals, but should not carry much. Sugar is better if it comes from natural products like beets or cane, since it provides energy.
|Dry food||Wet food|
For the elderly dog to be well fed, it is important that he consume a good dose of protein for his muscles. Ideally, it should be at least 15% more than what he consumed when he was younger ( 3 ) . In any case, you must avoid that they are excessive, since that could also be counterproductive. Note that the protein comes from meat and not from “by-products” of animal origin.
Carbohydrates must be maintained, although a good part of these must have fiber. And fat, the main source of energy, should be reduced a little, but not totally, as it helps keep the coat and skin healthy. It is important that the food has water and, if not, you must make sure that the animal drinks a lot and hydrates.
Complements according to needs
Your elderly pet may have some age-specific physical problems. Therefore, senior food will be a great complement to your needs. Whether to keep your body strong or so that the years do not deteriorate your brain, there are certain supplements that many foods usually carry. Here you can learn about some of them:
|Look for me to carry||For what|
|Calcium and phosphorus||Your bones stay strong and your teeth healthy.|
|Vitamin C||Keep your mind clear, helping to slow down your brain wear. Did you know that a dog can also have Alzheimer’s?|
|Zinc||Your immune system is healthy.|
|Hydrolyzed collagen||Helps to strengthen joints and reduce pain.|
|Lemon verbena and leucine||Both supplements serve to regenerate muscle mass and are antioxidants.|
|Tryptophan||Do you feel that with age you have less patience and have become a little more irritable? If so, do not worry, it is normal and it is also for your dog. And this element, in addition to helping you sleep better, will also give you peace of mind.|
|Glucosamine||Helps slow down the inevitable wear and tear of cartilage.|
If your dog is a vigorous old man, then don’t hesitate to give him dry senior food , great for his teeth. Plus, it’s packed with protein that keeps your muscles strong. Anyway, a can of wet food will not hurt to hydrate. When you’re having trouble chewing for any reason, pate or jelly-style food will be a great ally.
A bad diet can cause serious health problems to your dog
A healthy and balanced diet is essential for the dog’s body to have all the necessary nutrients to avoid diseases and other types of ailments. From puppies you have to take care of their diet to get them used to a certain type of food because later it is very difficult to re-educate them. Although there are different opinions regarding the proper way to feed them, you must pay attention to the particular requirements of each stage of their life taking into account the characteristics of your dog. On the other hand, regardless of whether you choose commercial or homemade food, the important thing is that it is of quality.
The correct feeding, in conjunction with a healthy life such as exercising, allows us to maintain the vigorousness of our animals, otherwise it produces problems such as constant fatigue and muscle pain. If this is prolonged over a longer period it can produce diseases due to the fact that its immune system suffers due to the lack of nutrients, among the main ones that affect dogs are the following:
Gastritis: It is one of the most common diseases. It can be caused as a consequence of an allergic reaction or a bacterial infection. Food in poor condition can cause it. We must prevent the animal from eating food that is not fresh or that we suspect may be expired.
Diarrhea: Constant diarrhea can tell us that the dog may be allergic to something it is eating. It may not tolerate gluten or lactose. The most recommended is that if the situation extends over time, you go to the vet to find out what is happening.
Allergy: Dogs can be allergic to many foods, just like humans. It is important to find out if the animal is allergic to any food we give it. In addition to gluten, dairy, and wheat, they may also be allergic to certain kibble compounds, such as flavorings, fatty proteins, or dyes. Signs of an allergic reaction are trouble breathing, itching, reddened skin, or peeling, among others.
Inflammation of the esophagus: This is because what you eat damages part of the digestive tract. This usually happens with foods with a harder texture or with bones. The signs are usually difficulty breathing and swallowing problems, since the affected area usually hurts the animal when it tries to swallow the food.
In addition to illnesses, dogs give other signs of poor diet such as having a very low energy level, loss of appetite, stomach problems that manifest superficially with constant flatulence, overweight problems and even hearing problems. It is proven that an allergic reaction to some food can lead to hearing loss
Old age is one more part of life. And your dog will also go through it. We will not deny that it has certain negative aspects, since your pet will lose strength. However, you will enjoy many hours of tranquility and hugs. Elderly dogs need their food to suit their needs, making senior dog food a great option.
These foods must carry quality protein for your muscles to be strong. They also have to contain less fat, because with age the animal will be less active and will not need as much of that energy source. Extra vitamins will also be beneficial. The most important thing is that your dog spends the sweet years of old age in the healthiest way possible.
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