When your dog lives to a ripe age, you will notice certain changes in their lifestyle. One of them, and this might worry you the most, is their diet. Food is a huge concern for most pet owners, and you might want to know what to feed elderly dogs so you can make the transition as soon as they hit old age.
Your foremost concern should be the prevention of obesity. This is a huge problem for most senior dogs—a problem that can be solved by turning to a high-fiber diet. Because of the slower metabolism rate of older dogs, they have a tendency to get overweight and obese more easily.
Many dog food companies now offer senior dog food formulations, which Nunez recommends as an age-appropriate diet for older pets because they’re lower in calories.
If possible, owners should feed their pets foods that are suitable to their stage in life. But some owners have more than one dog and would prefer to buy just one type of food.
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.” (Read more here)
As you shift to a healthier senior dog diet, does this mean you should let go of treats altogether? Certainly not! There are a few low-fat and low-sodium treats based on healthy recipes that you can try. From carrots to apple slices, find out what your old buddy likes the most. You will also have to give them more water, as their water balance is much lessened as they grow older.
If your dog has a problem like a liver disease or diabetes, with more reason should you consult a veterinarian for a special deit. The same goes for dogs with heart disease. For diabetic dogs, you best stick to foods that are low in fat and high in fiber, considering their slower absorption. This is also good for senior dogs that have constipation.
Sometimes, your dog will refuse to eat. This may be entirely natural, because of their reduced appetite. When this happens, you might want to try something new, like a home-cooked meal, a little chicken broth, or even canned food. In other cases, it may be caused by an underlying health concern, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or dental disease.
Feeding your older dog might be a tougher challenge than it ever was, but take it as another opportunity for you to get to know your older buddy even more. Who knows, you might even discover a new favorite that your fur baby can’t resist!