It is essential to give a senior dog a adapted diet. It is therefore necessary to ensure the composition of his rations and to offer his old dog only high quality food. It is equally important to analyze its special needs which vary from animal to animal depending on its lifestyle. Let’s take stock of the specificities of the senior dog and the number of daily meals recommended by veterinarians, how to ensure that the food transition does not disrupt his body and what type of diet to choose.
Older dog: two daily rations rather than one
To respect the specificities of the elderly dog, it is still necessary to know them. The best benchmark is not the age but the animal activity level. Feeding for dogs starting to age does not begin until when he becomes less active.
There is therefore a big difference between two canines. For example, the Yorkshire who lives indoors lying next to his master all day long and the German Shepherd used as a herding dog are far from having the same needs. And even with two absolutely identical lifestyles, their constitution being totally different, so are their dietary needs. As for the age of old age, it is assessed according to the breed of the animal.
Many older dogs are still very greedy and would be well able to eat more than they need to. It is therefore not the animal that decides but its owner who must establish the number of daily rations to be given. Veterinarians usually advise going for two rations per day so that the dog does not overload. It is indeed easier to digest two half-portions rather than a large one. The daily ration must therefore be divided into two equal parts.
What is imperative outlaw, it is snacking. This is essential to protect your senior dog against the risk of obesity because at this period of life, the animal tends to be less and less active. If he consumes more calories than he expends during the day, he will automatically gain weight and be more exposed to many diseases.
Aging dog: water available
The elderly dog should be satisfied with his two meals a day and consume nothing more except thewater obviously who must be made available to him day and night and changed frequently to keep it fresh and clean. The old dog is more likely than a young one to be dehydrated because he feels less thirst. It is therefore necessary to check how much water he drinks over a 24-hour period and if necessary communicate the readings to the veterinarian in order to know if this consumption is sufficient.
Feeding your senior dog well: a smooth food transition
When the dog ages, it is essential to change his diet because his lifestyle changes as well as his needs. But a diet modification can cause digestive problems or even quite simply upset the dog. It is absolutely undesirable. This is the reason why this change must happen over ten days, preferably following the recommendations of the veterinarian.
The food transition should make it possible to eliminate certain foods that are not suitable for senior dogs, or even to introduce foods that they have not consumed until then. It can also make it possible to switch from a household ration to a canned pâté, or from a pâté to croquettes.
Type of diet for older dogs: making the right choice
A dog can be fed only with industrial foods or with a household food, that is to say, prepared at home from raw ingredients. If you opt for processed foods, you should buy only those that are best suited to the senior dog, whether it is kibble or canned mash.
But regardless of the solution chosen, any food given to an elderly dog should be highly digestible so as not to disturb his intestines which, too, are aging and therefore function less well than before.
Dry food for senior dogs
Dry food is suitable for animals that still have strong teeth. They have the advantage of limiting bad breath because they prevent the accumulation of tartar deposits. However, dental plaque causes periodontal disease.
But it is not enough to give your dog the first kibble that comes along. We opt for a superior quality croquettes intended for senior dogs because they are well supplied with essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements), omega 3 (essential fatty acids), proteins, fibers… On the contrary, they must be low in bad fats and sugars.
Some are even developed to suit dogs suffering from particular diseases such as diabetes, liver failure, kidney failure, or digestive disorders, even food intolerance or allergies. These are part of therapeutic dog food, as are certain light foods of very high nutritional quality specially intended for senior dogs who tend to be overweight.
Food for senior dogs, in a box or sachet
Here again, the selection must be drastic. The criteria for choosing an industrial food for the old dog are the same as for dry food. However, this type of diet should be favored if the animal has dental problems no longer allowing him to properly chew each bite. The mash chews easily. It is also particularly suitable for dogs who do not have much of an appetite, as they are generally more appetizing than kibble. This is important when you no longer know how to encourage your aging little companion to eat.
Household feeding of the elderly dog
About the homemade food, it takes preparation time and requires choosing specific foods for the older dog. The slightest mistake and the animal is exposed to deficiencies, which can be serious for its state of health.
This household diet should favor vegetables and tubers (green beans, zucchini, carrots, spinach, sweet potato, etc.), fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), white meat (veal, chicken), the original oil vegetable (olive, peanut, grape seed), pasta and rice (semi-complete, whole) because the dog also needs to eat starches and cereals.
A few flakes of brewer’s yeast can be sprinkled on each ration to improve the dog’s intestinal transit or to keep his coat shiny. But a complementation in vitamins and minerals can be given to the animal to avoid any risk of deficiency only on the advice of the veterinarian.
The well-being of the elderly dog as well as his life expectancy are closely linked to their diet and to maintaining a daily physical activity, even moderate.