As your dog grows older, their nutritional needs will change. As older dogs tend to be less active and have a slower metabolism, you may notice that your dog gains weight as he ages. As you get older, you may need to switch to a lower calorie diet. Also to keep your dog active, you can give him/her a separate dog run.
Most feeding formulas for older dogs will contain fewer calories and a careful balance of other nutrients, such as essential fatty acids and antioxidants to strengthen your aged joints and immune system.
As older dogs tend to be less active, especially if they have mobility problems, such as osteoarthritis, they can develop obesity. Just as some health problems can lead to obesity, being overweight can also cause health problems, in addition to increasing pressure on the joints. Therefore, it is very important to check the physical condition of your dog periodically.
Physical Conditioning Tool
Diets for older dogs are usually created with a lower caloric content and a higher protein content, which helps control the weight of older dogs.
If you think your dog is overweight, ask your veterinarian for an appointment to assess the best line of intervention. It may simply be that your dog is eating too much, or there may be some underlying medical problem that needs to be treated. In any case, your veterinarian will recommend a diet of slimming based on the limitation of calorie consumption or a diet meal specialized for elderly dogs.
Ask your veterinarian for advice before increasing the amount of exercise for your dog, especially if they have mobility problems. Maybe a type of exercise with reduced weight support, such as hydrotherapy, would be useful.
Changing their diet
When changing from one type of food to another, it must always be done by introducing the new food gradually. Changing adult dog food to a senior dog diet is no exception. Start adding the new food slowly over a period of seven to ten days, increasing the proportion daily. Avoid sudden changes so that your dog does not suffer digestive discomfort.
How to feed your senior dog
Probably, your dog will be used to eating twice a day, although it is possible that as he prefers to eat smaller quantities but more frequently.
To enhance the aroma and flavor of the food, serve it at room temperature. Remember that if you are feeding your elderly dog with food that is stored in the refrigerator, you will have to take it out until two hours before serving it so that, when the time comes, it is at room temperature. If this is not possible, you can briefly heat the wet food in the microwave to warm it, but be careful not to overheat it because your dog’s mouth is very sensitive and could be burned.
Complete dry foods should be stored in a clean and dry environment. You will help preserve the good aroma and flavor of these foods if you store them in a resealable bag or in an airtight container.
At mealtime, feed your dog in a quiet place where he can eat in peace without being interrupted. If you have more than one dog, feed them at the same time but separately so that they do not fight or steal food. Some elderly dogs that suffer from arthritis may have difficulty bending over to their food and, therefore, they will prefer that their dish be somewhat elevated from the ground.
How much food does your senior dog need?
Remember: older dogs are more likely to gain weight than adult dogs, so be careful not to overfeed them. If you just changed your dog’s food for a different one, in principle follow the instructions on the package. It is an orientative guide, so check periodically the physical condition of your dog and adjust the amount to keep it at its ideal weight. As a fundamental part of your dog’s diet, your dog will have to have easy access to clean and fresh drinking water both during the day and at night.