As your dog ages, its nutritional needs change. You may notice it takes your once active pup longer to get up after resting and that they may not be as playful as they once were. In some cases, your senior dog may even put on a little extra weight.
When your dog begins to show its age, it may be time to reconsider the food you purchase. Along with reconsidering the food you are giving your pup, you should also look into different diets. You’ll find holistic dog food ingredients are quite different from big-name bulk-produced dog food ingredients.
Keep reading to learn more about ensuring your senior pup follows a healthy, balanced diet that will support the changes they are facing as they age.
When Is a Dog Considered a “Senior?”
The term “senior dog” can be used for different dogs, in different situations. Each dog is unique, but weight and size are important factors.
Usually, dogs that grow to a huge size have much shorter lifespans. They are considered seniors around the age of five or six. Smaller breeds usually live longer, and as a result, aren’t considered seniors until they reach eight or nine years old.
However, many dogs are still quite healthy even when they reach their senior years. To know for sure if your dog has reached this point, you can look for signs of aging, which are very similar to aging in humans and include:
- Bad breath or other dental issues
- Vision problems
- Weight fluctuations
- Skin issues and lumps
Now that you know if your dog is entering their senior years, it’s time to learn more about its nutritional needs.
Understanding Nutritional Needs of Senior Dogs
Every dog is unique. However, most senior dogs will have some needs that are similar to other senior dogs.
The protein stores of a senior dog turn over faster than in younger dogs, and they may begin to lose muscle mass as they get older. Additional protein in their diet helps provide amino acids that compensate for this loss, which helps keep older dogs mobile and strong.
Higher or Lower Fat Content
Sometimes senior dogs require lower or higher fat content in their food to keep weight on. If you notice that your dog is losing weight, speak to your vet about increasing their fat content. When muscle mass is the issue, following a high-protein diet is recommended.
Additional Supplements and Nutrients
You can talk to your dog’s vet about additional nutrients your senior dog may need. Sometimes adding a supplement oil to their food or water is all that’s needed to meet their changing nutritional needs.
Meeting Your Senior Dog’s Nutritional Needs
If you want to ensure that your senior dog continues to thrive as they get older, meeting their nutritional needs is essential. If you aren’t sure what type of food to give your dog, talk to their vet. They can provide helpful insight and information to ensure your senior dog thrives.