Diets For Older Dogs

At some point you will discover that your dog no longer has the energy they once did.  You find that they tire very quickly when they go out for walks or don’t want to play the games that they loved to play.  In fact, they now like nothing more than curling up in their favorite spot.  You may notice shades of grey emerging through their coat and the fur and whiskers around their face are getting ever more lighter in colour.  Don’t worry, you have just appreciated that your dog is entering his senior years and, just like us, this is a natural process.

Alter Hund mit BallVitamin Supplements
When your dog gets older, you will undoubtedly notice a decrease in their level of activity, simply because they no longer have the energy they once did.  One of the problems associated with older dogs, due to the general decrease in exercise, is that they tend to put on weight.  If they put on too much weight or become obese this will have a significant and detrimental impact on their general health.  At this point, many owners will reduce the amount of food they feed to their dog.  Remember however that if you reduce the quantity of food, you are also reducing the quantity of important nutrients and vitamins.  It is therefore important to replace these lost vitamins with additional supplements.  The best advice here is to have a word with your vet, who will know the particular supplements that your older dog needs.

The stomach and digestive system of an older dog probably wont work as well as it use to, which means that your dog is much more likely to suffer from constipation.  It is therefore essential to ensure that they have plenty of fiber in their diet.  A recommended amount of fiber is somewhere between 3% and 5%.  Water can also help with the constipation, so make sure they always have water in their water bowl.

It is a recognized fact that a lot of breeds, especially larger breeds, are susceptible to contracting arthritis when they get older.  In order to prevent or alleviate this problem, most vets will recommend a daily supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin.  This will help to lubricate and keep those joints healthy, which in turn means they will be able to stay more active.

The bodies of older dogs have a tendency to absorb fewer vitamins and electrolytes (electrolytes regulate the nerve and muscle function, body hydration, blood pH, blood pressure, and the rebuilding of damaged tissue) and also lose them quicker.  Again, seek the advice of a vet to ensure that your dog is getting the additional vitamins they need.  You also want to be sure that your dog is getting plenty of essential fatty acids, since these can certainly help with arthritis.

Losing Interest In their Food
As dogs get older their teeth and gums become weaker and consequently they find it harder to chew their food.  When this happens you could try giving them smaller kibble or moistening their food with water to soften it up a little bit. If you find that your dog is not as interested in their food as they once were, try adding a little bit of cooked chicken or boiled eggs to their food.  Modest quantities of other tasty ingredients could also be added, but be sure not to include ingedients which are high in fat since these are not so good for older dogs.

Older dogs tend to like the odd titbits and scraps from the dinner table.  Whilst it may seem a bit harsh, these type of scraps are not recommended for any dog, especially older ones.  If you feed them table scraps they are much less likely to eat their prepared meals.

The Raw Food Diet
Many people have started their older dogs on the Raw Food Dog Diet or BARF (bones and raw food diet) due to the fact raw food is easier for them to chew and, the vegetables that are part of this diet are usually pureed.  The Raw Food Diet is a very good diet to use due to all of the natural nutrients that it contains.  Some people say that the Raw Food Diet has helped their dog regain some of its energy.  Whilst there are many benefits to be gained with this diet, it should be noted tthat many older dogs may find the switch difficult.  It is certainly recommended that you give it a try though.

Finally, a good diet is essential for all dogs, but providing a good diet, supplemented with additional vitamins for your older dog will help them enjoy life to the full in their twilight years.

 

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