Senior dogs have different dietary needs than young or adult dogs. These dogs face more health issues and risks, and their diet needs to be changed to compensate for this. Here are a few ways by which you can easily adjust your dog’s diet and can provide an apt nutrition to them.
Major Change is Sometimes Necessary
One of the most common types of health problems requiring major dietary changes are liver and kidney issues. These are some typical conditions that your veterinarian will need to identify for you, and you will want to talk to your vet before you make any major changes to your dog’s diet, especially if you have a senior dog. Dogs with liver and kidney problems, though, will need a diet that is low in protein. They simply cannot handle the high protein diet that most adult dogs require, so you’ll have to watch how much meat and other protein-rich foods they are eating.
Use High Quality Food
Dogs that haven’t reached their senior years yet can handle food that isn’t always of the highest quality. They have powerful digestive systems that work through processed foods and pull out the nutritional value from them more easily than senior dog would. They can also forage for food that has the nutrients they are missing. Seniors dogs don’t always have that ability to get missing nutrients on their own, which is why you want to be sure that any food you give your senior dog is of the highest quality. This means that it is nutritionally balanced and is made without a lot of chemicals or fillers.
You can check the nutrition label of the food to get a good idea of what it will offer your dog and read reviews on the best dog food brands to find food that experts agree is good for him. This will help you to find food that you can feel good about feeding to your dog.
Your Dog May Require Softer Food
Older dogs can experience dental problems that affect the way they eat. Regular dog food could be too crunchy and hard for them, taking its toll on their teeth. To prevent this, you can switch to a softer food that they can chew through more easily. This will help to keep their teeth strong for longer and prevent chipping, tooth decay and other dental issues.
Easily Digestible Food Helps Senior Dogs
Older dogs can also have problems digesting the food they use to eat. Their digestive system might not be as strong as it was in their younger days, so they need food that will be gentle on their stomach. Look for labels like “easily digestible”, “easy to digest” or something similar on the dog food you get for your pet. Keep in mind that dog food is not really regulated, so there is a certain amount of false advertising and labeling that goes on.
Some of the best dog food your pet’s digestion is canned dog food. That wet food is a lot easier on your dog going through their digestive tract, as it won’t put as much of a strain on their stomach, throat or colon. Now, you don’t want to feed your dog soft food all the time, but you should consider making soft food that is easily digestible a larger part of your senior’s dog diet. Some people even cook food for their dogs at home to ensure that their dog is getting enough nutrition and is eating food that will be gentle on his stomach. Rice, pumpkin and other nutritious human foods are a good choice for dogs who are developing stomach sensitivity issues or digestive problems.
Your dog can eat well as a senior, and you can ensure that he can handle what he is fed by carefully monitoring his diet and making changes as necessary. If you are not sure what to feed your senior dog, then talk to the vet and get an expert opinion. Your dog will live a much happier and even longer life with the right diet and ample nutrition.