Nutrition is a powerful tool at all times of a dog’s existence. It is a great way to keep your dog healthy, avoid diseases, and even treat certain diseases. However, the fact that your dog’s age does not mean they’re in need of an overhaul in their diet.
There are a variety of foods available there that are labeled as suitable for senior, old as well as senior dog breeds. There are diets specifically designed for all stages of life. It is difficult to determine what is the most suitable for your dog and whether it is appropriate to switch to a senior dog’s food.
Do Senior Dogs Need Senior Dog Food?
The decision about what you feed your dog and whether or not to switch the food to senior dogs must be based on a variety of factors. Your vet can provide suggestions in light of your dog’s health condition, risk of developing the disease, and way of life.
The primary goals when feeding senior dogs are twofold.
- Manage or prevent disease
- Improve longevity
If your dog is diagnosed with a health issue that is thought to be influenced by diet, it could be time to consider a change. This is among the primary things to be considered when deciding whether your dog requires adult food.
What makes a senior dog’s Food different?
So, what is it that makes senior dog food different from adult or all dog food? Foods that are labeled for senior dogs can differ in the ingredients and nutrient profiles, but not necessarily.
For instance, the proportion of protein present in adult dog food varies between 18-30 percent. Similar to the 18-23% range for senior dog food (on the basis of dry matter). Other nutrients can differ significantly, as is usually the situation with phosphorus and sodium levels.
Senior dog meals distinct from adult or other life stages food is whether they include specific nutrients and other ingredients that may aid in managing or preventing certain ailments.
It is essential to look up the labels on dog food and, if you’re thinking about making changing your food, consult with your veterinarian to find out what your dog’s requirements might be.
All food items, regardless of stage, must provide the number of necessary nutrients as defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). It is vital to remember, however, that AAFCO certification does not guarantee the food is effective in the prevention or treatment of any specific illness.
What are the conditions that senior dog Food help manage?
There is quite a many handfuls of illnesses that are commonly found in older dogs. Many of them can be managed or controlled partially or completely by nutrition. This includes conditions like:
- Dental disease
- Cognitive dysfunction (dementia)
- Kidney disease
- Skin diseases
- Certain cancers
In certain instances, the nutritional effects can alter the outcome of a disease or slow the development of a disease In other cases, it could simply lessen the signs of the disease.
Pets suffering from dental problems might benefit from dry senior food items that have a particular shape, size, and texture that reduces plaque accumulation. The food may include ingredients specifically targeted to control dental diseases.
If your dog’s senior has lost their teeth or has only a few teeth remaining, your veterinarian might suggest canned foods to ease and make it easier for your dog to enjoy eating.
The arthritis-prone dog may benefit from senior food with ingredients well-known to improve joint health like glucosamine hydrochloride as well as chondroitin sulfate. omega-3 fatty acids that are long-chain (eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) and eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA)) to mention some. If a diet that is therapeutic for your dog isn’t recommended supplements with these ingredients might be beneficial for your dog’s senior.
If your dog suffers from kidney problems, your veterinarian may recommend the use of premium senior food that contains lower (but high-quality) protein. In many instances, an appropriate diet for your dog may be suggested.
What is the best time for a dog to Change into Senior Food?
The classification of life stages in dogs will help you determine if your dog is considered to be senior. Based on size and breed, the majority of canines are considered “mature adults” between the ages of 6 to 8 years of age. Most of the time dogs older than eight years will be classified as seniors.
While age classifications can help in guiding your eating habits, it’s crucial to keep in mind that animals are individual. Even if they reach an age, it doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily old on a physiological scale.
The process of aging is different for every dog and similar to humans they may appear like, feel, or affect the dogs in different ways. If your dog is healthy and is maintaining an ideal weight then a change in dog food is not necessary.
Your vet is your most reliable ally in determining if the dog’s time is right for the transition to senior food.
How to Choose the Right Senior Dog Food
Before you make the switch towards senior dogs’ food speak with your vet to make sure your dog is in the right place and doesn’t need any specific recommendations.
Here are some suggestions on how you can make the transition smoother to your pet.
Make use of an older version of their Current Food
If your dog is ready to move on to a senior-friendly diet, begin by trying the version for senior dogs of what they are eating (same brand, different flavors, and taste). A lot of brands provide an older version of the majority of adult food items. This could help to avoid stomach issues that are associated with a change in diet.
Search for a Senior Dog Food that is similar to the Food They Are Currently Taking
If your brand doesn’t provide a senior-friendly version you should look for senior dog food with similar ingredients and nutrient profiles. For instance, if your dog has been eating rice kibble and chicken and rice kibble, you should search for senior dry dog food that has similar ingredients.
If your veterinarian suggests using a different formula brand, type, or variation, take a look at the ingredient list and choose according to your dog’s specific requirements.
Try a food that’s specially designed for the size of your dog or Breed
There are typically small and large breed types that are senior-friendly dog foods dependent on the brand.
If you own a smaller dog, searching for a senior small breed food is a smart option (and similar is true for bigger breeds). The diets are typically designed specifically for size (or in certain cases breed-specific) requirements in the mind. This may include a particular size, shape and texture, or additional ingredients to combat illnesses that are more likely be affecting dogs of different dimensions or breeds.
Take note of your veterinarian’s recommendations for Particular Health Conditions
If your dog is diagnosed with a disease that is known to be influenced by diet or they’re at risk of certain ailments because of their health or lifestyle, your veterinarian may recommend a prescription or therapeutic diet. The diets you choose to use require the approval of your veterinarian.
Although they do not typically include the term “senior” as part of their name but they are designed to treat common ailments found in older dogs. They might contain additional particular ingredients or have formulation-specific variations that aren’t available in generic versions.
The transition is slow to the new Senior Dog Food
Once you’ve decided on the proper diet for your dog’s senior years It is important to ease the transition slowly to the new diet. Ideally the transition should take place in a period of 7-10 days or more and a complete transition to the new diet within 14 days.
In the event that your pet is susceptible to stomach upset it is possible to wait a bit longer before introducing your dog to the food. It’s recommended to begin by mixing small quantities of food into the current diet. Every day, you’ll be able to introduce additional portions of your new diet, and then take away some of the older food till the change is completed. If you experience digestive issues (vomiting or diarrhea or not eating) It’s recommended to discontinue the diet and talk to your veterinarian.
Always consult your Veterinarian about changes to your diet.
There are a lot of great choices when it comes to senior dog food today. The variety of nutrients and ingredient contents can be challenging to determine which is the best. Selecting the right food for your dog must be based on your dog’s needs, his or her illnesses, risk of disease and the way they or live. Your veterinarian is an essential factor in the health of your dog and should be considered before making a change to a diet.