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Feeding your adult and senior dog

Feeding your adult and senior dog

As dogs get older, their nutritional needs change. Why? For a start, your dog has stopped growing. Secondly, adult and senior dogs are less active. And thirdly, older dogs can start to experience physical and cognitive challenges, just like older humans. By feeding your dog a Superior Nutrition diet tailored for their life stage, you can help your best friend thrive and live their best life in their adult and golden years.

Image Banner: Adult dog nutrition for 12 months to 7 years old.

Once puppies have matured to 12 months, or even 18 months for some large breeds, they are considered adults. At this point, they are still growing, but not as rapidly as when they were at their prime puppy stage. Dog food that is scientifically formulated for adult dogs isn’t as calorie-dense as puppy food, but still includes a balance of the necessary vitamins, protein, fats and minerals to keep your dog in optimal health.

Note: A puppy's transition to adulthood is variable depending on breed, size and overall growth, so we recommend talking to your local veterinarian for their advice on when your puppy is expected to become an adult.

Choosing the right food for your adult dog

To help you choose the best food for your adult dog, take into account the following factors:

1. Your dog's lifestage - choose a food made specifically for adult dogs.

Because adult dogs don't need the same nutrients to help them grow as puppies, their diet contains fewer calories to help them maintain a healthy weight during adulthood.

2. Your dog's size - choose food matching your dog's size (small, medium, large).

Size also plays a big role in meeting a dog's nutritional needs. For example, smaller dogs have a higher metabolism, which means they need more calories in their diet than larger dogs. Since large, medium and small dogs have different nutritional requirements, choosing a dog food that matches your dog's size will be the best way to keep your pooch healthy. 

3. Your dog's breed - different breeds have unique needs.

If your dog is a pedigree breed, or a cross-breed that strongly resembles a purebred dog, there are breed-specific diets available. Certain Superior Nutrition brands like Royal Canin, offer formulas designed to meet the nutritional needs of specific dog breeds. To learn more about these special diets, visit our article 'The benefits of breed-specific dog food'.

4. Health requirements.

Dogs with certain health conditions may be able to find some relief by visiting their veterinarian and switching to a care nutrition diet that is specificially designed to support their special health needs, such as dental care, joints and mobility support, or weight management. To learn more about these care nutrition diets, visit our article 'Care Nutrition for dogs'.

Note: Before switching your dog's food to a care nutrition diet, a proper vet diagnosis is essential. If you have any concerns about your pet's health, talk to your local Animates Vetcare clinic for dietary advice.

No matter the size of your adult dog, you should always pay close attention to the amount they eat and be sure that treats are limited. Keeping your pet healthy during their adult stage will set them up well for their senior years. Owners of large and giant breed dogs should keep in mind that their pet must stay on puppy food a little longer than 12 months. If you are unsure when you should switch your dog onto adult diet, ask our friendly pet experts at your local Animates store or Animates Vetcare clinic.

Wet food for adult dogs

While dry food offers many great benefits for your dog's health (e.g. the crunchy texture of the kibble can improve oral health), you may want to consider introducing a wet meal to your dog's daily diet. Since most wet dog foods contain approximately 70% water, a wet meal is a great way to boost your canine's daily water intake.

To give your dog the best of both worlds, feeding a combination of wet and dry foods in their diet will help your pooch get the most out of their mealtimes. To learn more about the benefits of mixed feeding, visit our article 'What to feed your dog - wet or dry food?'

Transitioning your dog’s diet

If you’ve decided to make a change to your dog’s diet, whether it’s a different brand, a new balance between wet and dry food, or shifting from adult food to senior pet food, it’s really important that you do so slowly. While we can happily eat a variety of foods in one day, our pets have very different digestive systems, which need a focus on balance. Some dogs are likely to have a more sensitive stomach than others but, even so, an abrupt change in diet can lead to digestive upsets.

Gradually introducing the food over a 7-day period is the best way to avoid some of the issues that can occur with a change to diet. To learn more tips for transitioning your dog's diet, visit our article 'A guide to changing your dog's food'.

 

Image banner: Senior dog nutrition. 7 years and older.

Senior dogs have special needs when it comes to nutrition. Depending on the breed, some dogs are considered senior at seven years and this means that their diet will need to shift. With the change to this life stage comes decreased energy levels and a slower metabolism. For this reason, the amount of calories they consume will need to drop to ensure they don’t gain weight.

Feeding an age-specific diet, in this case for your senior pet, will ensure they get the right level of nutrients to thrive. An older pet needs a food rich in omega fatty acids and antioxidants, to help with their brain function slowing. Their food also needs to include the right levels of fat and protein, so they do not experience weight fluctuations as their body adjusts to becoming less active – that's why it is important to feed your pet a Superior Nutrition food targeted at senior dogs, as it's formulated with the key nutritional requirements in mind.

When should I feed my dog a senior dog food?

When is your dog officially a senior? It depends on size. For small dogs, the senior moment comes at 10 to 12 years. For medium-size dogs, it’s around 8 or 9 years. For big dogs, senior arrives early at 6 to 7 years. To help you figure out when would be the best time to switch your pooch onto a senior dog food, pop into your local Animates store or Animates Vetcare clinic for advice.

Choosing the right food for your senior dog 

To help you choose the best food for your senior dog, take into account the following factors:

1. Your dog's lifestage - choose food made specifically for senior dogs.

Unless your vet suggests otherwise, we recommend changing your dog onto Superior Nutrition diet that's designed specifically for senior dogs. Feeding an age-specific diet, will ensure your pet is getting the right level of nutrients in their senior years.

Superior Nutrition senior dog foods provide high-quality protein and many also contain added vitamin E to strengthen your pet's natural defences. Additionally, they contain fewer calories, helping your senior dog to maintain their optimum body weight as their activity levels drop. This means your canine friend can continue to enjoy their mealtimes without compromising on the essentials. 

2. Your dog's size - choose food matching your dog's size (small, medium, large).

When it's time to switch your dog to a senior diet, it's important to select a senior dog food that is targeted towards your dog's size - as large, medium, and small dogs have different nutritional requirements.

3. Your dogs' breed - different breeds have unique needs.

From their personalities to their distinctive physiologies, pedigree dogs have unique characteristics, which come with specific nutritional needs. To support the unique needs of purebred dogs, breed-specific dog foods are tailor made with precise nutrition. 

If your senior dog is pedigree breed, or a cross-breed that strongly resembles a purebred, you may want to consider feeding your pooch a breed-specific diet.

4. Health requirements.

Superior Nutrition dog foods are also available in ranges that cater to special health needs such as dental care, joints and mobility support, and weight management. To learn more about these diets, visit our article 'Care Nutrition for dogs'.

Note: Before switching your dog's food to a care nutrition diet, a proper vet diagnosis is essential. If you have any concerns about your pet's health, talk to your local Animates Vetcare clinic for dietary advice.

For more help selecting the best Superior Nutrition food for your senior dog, visit your local Animates Vetcare clinic for personalised advice and speak to our knowledgeable team.

Wet food for senior Dogs

Supplementing your senior pet’s diet with a wet meal is a great way to add additional hydration to their daily intake, as some senior pets can struggle to get enough water day-to-day, particularly in the summer. The high meat content of wet diets encourages palatability - so if your dog is struggling to eat their dry diet, offering some wet food alongside can help encourage eating. Note: Always consult with your vet if your senior pet has problems with their appetite or eating.

For optimal nutrition, feeding your senior dog a combination of both wet and dry foods in their diet can help them get the most out of mealtimes. To learn more about the beenfits of mixed feeding, visit our 'What to feed your dog - wet or dry food?' article.

As your dog progresses into their senior years, it’s a good to visit your local Animates Vetcare clinic to ensure you're feeding your dog the correct diet (and quantity) for their for age, size, breed and any specific health needs.

Supplements for senior dogs

Many of the supplements we consider taking for ourselves as we age can also be beneficial for our older dogs, such as oil-based supplements for dogs that support joint health and cognitive function. Before adding any supplements to your senior dog’s diet, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian first.

 

Image banner: Looking for dog nutrition advice?

Feeding your pooch a high-quality diet during their adult and senior years will provide many benefits to keep them happy and healthy.

If you have any questions about your dog's health or dietary needs, pop into your local Animates store or Animates Vetcare clinic. Our knowledgeable staff can help you choose a Superior Nutrition dog food tailor-made for your dog’s lifestage and other nutritional requirements.

 

 

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