Once your dog has reached 75% of his expected life span, you should consider a new senior diet to maintain his health. At this stage of a dog’s life, his metabolism slows and he starts to lose some of his energy and verve. Proper nutrition is the best way to compensate for these changes and prevent the onset of age-related health problems. The following are some points to consider when preparing a diet for your senior pet.
Change your dog’s diet while he’s still healthy
Switching to a senior dog food while your dog is still in good shape can help ease his transition into old age. Foods designed for senior dogs have higher levels of the vitamins and minerals that dog’s need as they get older. They also contain less sodium and fewer calories than regular adult dog foods. If you continue with a regular maintenance diet at this stage, the excess nutrition could put undue stress on your dog’s health. This is particularly true if he’s not as active as he used to be. You can find more senior dog health tips at the IAMS website.
Watch your dog’s body condition and weight
Every senior dog has individual nutritional requirements. Where one may do well on a basic diet designed for seniors another may need premium dog food that’s easier to digest. Senior dogs often have trouble maintaining a steady weight as their bodies change. You should adjust your dog’s diet to help him keep an optimum body condition.
Moisten dry foods
Almost 90% of dogs over the age of four suffer from periodontal disease. You may need to add a little water to dry dog foods so your dog can chew them more comfortably.
If your dog loses weight or won’t eat his food
To combat weight loss consider dog food supplements designed for senior dogs. They contain extra vitamins and minerals that your dog may not be getting. Also, if you’ve avoided giving your dog table scraps in the past, now might be a good time to start. Stick to good-quality scraps and avoid bones and fat. Your dog may appreciate the change of pace, and at this point there’s no reason to hold out on him. Of course, you should always consult your veterinarian if your dog experiences a sudden weight change as it could be a sign of illness.