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Do Senior Dogs have Special Nutritional Needs?

It is normal for an aging dog to undergo different physiological changes. You may notice that your older dog is now getting slower than before. You may see that his appetite changes drastically. He used to love eating practically anything. But now, he seems to have lost interest in food.

These changes may give you a lot of stress. That’s why it’s important to be aware of what these changes are so it will be easier for you to tend to your pet’s needs effectively and keep up with his eating habits. Now the question is: do senior dogs have special nutritional needs?

Two veterinarians explain this here:

“Seniors and geriatrics generally need lower-calorie diets to help prevent obesity — a huge problem in seniors — and higher-fiber diets to improve gastrointestinal health,” Metzger says.

“Probably the most important thing for a geriatric dog is that their energy requirement gets lower,” Nunez says. With a slower metabolic rate, older dogs are more likely to become overweight or obese.

In that case, foods labeled “multi-stage” would be acceptable for puppies, adults, and seniors. “You make some compromises when you do the ‘multi-stage’ diets,” Nunez says. “So they’re my second choice. But some people just can’t separate the foods. The puppy will get into the senior diet, and the senior dog will get into the puppy food.”

Metzger tells WebMD that when it comes to snacks, you should serve your senior dog healthy, low-fat, low-sodiumtreats. Although many dog owners think of bones and milk biscuits as snacks, there are alternatives. “Vegetables are great,” Metzger says. “Most dogs like carrots and apple slices.” But avoid grapes and raisins because they’re harmful to dogs. (Click here to read more)

Watching your senior dog live through the last stage in his life is not easy. It’s hard to see your beloved pet during his last years, especially when his organs are starting to shut down. But death is a natural part of life, for both humans and animals, and there is nothing you can do about it.

So while you can’t prolong your dog’s life, you can still make his remaining days with you happy and memorable. Now that you know the answer to “do senior dogs have special nutritional needs?” the best thing you can do is provide proper diet, nutrition, care and medication for your aging beloved pet. After all, nothing beats a healthy dose of tender loving care from his owner.

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