Feeding your senior dog
No one wants to hear they’re ageing, but did you know your dog is ageing much quicker than you?! Ageing is part of life, but you can help your dog age gracefully by feeding them a high-quality food that’s specifically formulated for senior dogs.
When is my dog considered a senior?
While each dog will start to move into the senior phase of their life at slightly different times, the age of seven is a time that sees many dogs hit their senior stride. Large and giant breed dogs can move into this phase a little earlier, while toy and smaller breeds will shift to the senior category a bit later in life.
Of course, there will always be exceptions to this rule, but this can be used as a guide to help you make decisions on selecting the best senior dog food for your pet. Your local Animates Vetcare team will be able to give your senior dog a comprehensive health check based on their life stage, and also offer advice on the nutritional requirements that go hand in hand with these changes.
Why do dogs need age-specific diets?
As your dog ages, their body will see some changes that require an update to their diet. For example, you may have noticed that your senior dog is not as energetic as they used to be. It is also common for senior dogs’ metabolism to slow down and for them to experience other issues such as with their mobility and vision. However, these signs of aging can be slowed down by feeding your senior dog the best senior dog food.
To help you choose the best food for your senior dog, consider the following factors:
1. Your dog's life stage - choose food made specifically for senior dogs.
Once your dog reaches this senior milestone, you should switch their diet to one that’s designed specifically for senior dogs to ensure they're getting the right level of nutrients for their life stage. Since their ability to absorb nutrients like protein and fat often slows with age, senior-specific dog diets contain easy to digest ingredients to promote digestive health and supports their immune system too.
Older pets also have a higher risk of issues with their joints, which is why age-specific pet foods include ingredients that also promote joint health. Formulations made for senior dogs will often include nutrients like glucosamine and fatty acids such as Omega-3 and 6 for healthy joints. In addition, look for senior dog food that contains vitamins like vitamin A to help their vision and their brain function, keeping your dog brighter and more active for longer.
With this change in life stage comes decreased energy levels and a slower metabolism. To help them maintain a healthy body weight, senior-specific dog foods include a different balance of protein and fat to that of the adult food formulations. 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 the small, flat-faced Pug to the obesity-prone Labrador Retriever, breed-specific diets are tailor-made to address the unique needs of purebred dogs. Taking these differences into careful consideration, breed-specific diets feature unique nutrients, kibble shape and texture to provide a perigee pooch with the right nutrition they need to thrive. If your senior dog is a pedigree, or a crossbreed that strongly resembles a purebred, you may want to consider feeding your dog a senior 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. 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 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. Supplementing your pet’s dry food 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. Additionally, 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.
At Animates, we believe your dog and cat will love their food so much that if they don’t...we’ll help find a replacement. That’s our taste guarantee.
If you're pet isn't satisfied with their new food all you need to do is...
- Bring the remaining food back to one of our stores
- Let one of our team members know the food wasn't quite right for your pet
- We'll help find a replacement food for your pet with one of equal value
Taste Guarantee, they'll love it or we'll replace it...guaranteed!
We’re here for you
The health needs of every dog are different, and this life stage will see each dog change at different rates. Feeding your senior pooch a high-quality diet will provide many benefits to keeping them happy and healthy in their golden years. If you have any questions about your dog's health or dietary needs, pop into your local Animates store or Animates Vetcare clinic.