When a dog enters his golden age or senior hood then dog-owner needs to give more attention towards this nutrition. A proper nutritional management plays a vital role in keeping your senior dog healthy. The dog owner needs to follow a specific guideline for feeding their dog. The right amount of balanced diet keeps the body in a working condition and helps in avoiding common health issues in old dogs. An average dog enters the stage of seniorhood between 7 to 12 years of age so, it’s the time to switch to different dietary choices. Many dog-owners struggle while making dietary choices for their four-legged friend.
So, let’s discuss the important things that you need to consider while feeding your senior dog:
Amount of Calories
One of the most important things that one needs to take care of is the number of calories that are required by your senior dog. Just like humans, dog’s calorie requirement changes with time. When they hit the stage of the senior hood then their digestive system doesn’t stay as active as it used to be and also other factors like physical activity also influence their calorie requirement so they should be given only that amount of calories that are required for proper functioning of their body.
In a study, it has been showed that in order to maintain the same weight that they used to have at a younger age, the senior dogs need 20% fewer calories. Dog at this age requires food with less fat. And the foods like red meat, fish, and chicken will provide him enough fats for energy. Whereas in some cases, dogs when hit their senior hood then they tend to lose their appetite so such dogs require more calories in order to stay healthy so the dog owner needs to feed them food with high-fat content as then it will help the dog to gain weight and it will also help in increasing palatability.
Protein is considered most beneficiary nutrient in animal nutrition and it helps in maintaining muscles. Most people have a misconception in their mind that more amount of protein can damage the kidneys of dogs but it has been refuted in a recent study which claims that protein in no way can harm the kidneys, in fact when a dog becomes senior than his protein requirement also get increased by 50%. As senior dogs tend to lose their protein reserves so they need to refill it by in taking food with food protein. The loss of protein reserves may decrease their ability to deal with stress or any infectious agent. So, it is necessary to ensure that they intake 25% of their calories from the source of protein.
Fiber is also a beneficiary nutrient that needs to be added to the diet of senior dogs as it helps in healing the problem of constipation which is the most common problem of a senior dog. Moderately fermentable fiber blends help in nutrient digestion.
Intake of minerals helps to prevent any kind of deficiencies. Some senior dogs don’t eat well so in that case, you can give them vitamin/minerals supplements in order to keep the body immune from any deficiencies.
So, In order to add more years to your senior dog’s life, you need to feed him nutritious & balanced food. You need to take care of the amount of nutrients that is required for smooth functioning of his body.