When it comes to aging, animals are just like people—they slow down and in turn run the risk of gaining weight because of reduced activity. That’s one reason your senior dog can’t eat the same way a puppy can. And it usually starts when your pet is around seven years old.
With all of the senior dog food and supplement options available, you’ll want to talk to your vet about your mature pet’s special nutritional needs to ensure you’re addressing specific problems your pet may have, such as arthritis, loss of hearing, dental disease, or incontinence.
Of course, you want to do everything you can to help keep your pal comfortable and healthy for as long as you can, so keep these special nutritional considerations for mature pets in mind and discuss them with your vet:
- Obesity: A senior pet needs adequate amounts of protein and fat in his diet, but with fewer calories to prevent obesity. Your vet can help guide you to the right amount for your pet’s size, weight and energy level. And you can explore dog foods formulated for your aging pup.
- Constipation: If your elderly pup has trouble pooping, he likely needs more fiber in his diet to keep his tummy and intestinal tract functioning properly. Ask your vet to suggest safe sources, like Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets FortiFlora.
- Food for all life stages: If you have pets of various ages in your home, you may want to stock up on dog food formulated for all life stages, since telling your pets not to eat out of each other’s bowls is folly and the stuff of dreams.
- Senior pet arthritis: Mature pet foods generally contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate to address arthritis and joint pain. An overweight animal may experience more severe pain and soreness due to arthritis because of the extra strain on his or her joints. We recommend trying Cosequin Maximum Strength (DS) Plus MSM Chewable Tablets.
- Cognitive dysfunction: As many as 20–68% of older dogs experience cognitive dysfunction resulting in mental decline. Pro Plan Bright Minds dog foods can help promote alertness and mental sharpness in dogs 7+ within 30 days.
- Dehydration: Pets, like humans, can suffer from fluid deprivation. If you notice your animal isn’t drinking as much water, add some to his dry dog food to increase intake. Or consider feeding wet dog foods, as a complete meal or supplementing with it as a topper to your kibble.
Bring your mature pet to the vet promptly if you notice any discomfort or a notable change in behavior. Keeping your pet comfy in his old age is the best gift a pet parent can bestow on their beloved furry friend.