Food for Older Dogs
Just like you, as your dog ages their metabolism slows over time. The most obvious symptom of this is that their energy levels start to fall. This is accompanied by less of a need for calories. In fact, keeping up a high calorie content into your dog’s senior years can cause the same problems faced by us humans: obesity and all the associated health problems.
In the wild, dogs – like most animals – don’t change their diets, but simply eat less food.
The age at which a dog can be considered ‘senior’ varies a little according to breed and size, as well as the individual dog themselves. As a general rule of thumb smaller breeds tend to age less quickly than older dogs – and can still be extremely active until the age of 10. Conversely, bigger dogs may show the signs of aging within just 5 years.
What’s most important is for you to watch the behaviour of your own dog to look for signs that they are slowing down. When they do – at whatever age – it might be time to consider switching to a dog food made in mind of the needs of older dogs. As always, we recommend speaking to a vet if this ‘slowing down’ happens early in life, or if your dog’s appetite diminishes very rapidly.
Many manufacturers now offer foods tailored towards older dogs that take into account both this lessened need for calorific content, and the increased need for vitamins and minerals. These foods include the additional vitamins and minerals that can specifcally help with the problems ageing dogs can face.
As dogs age, they can develop similar problems to humans – such as joint problems. As such, senior dog foods will be bolstered by the addition of fish oils, glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin. While all such compounds are available as supplements to be given alongside your dog’s normal diet, it is worth seeking out a good quality senior dog food in order