Dogs have varied nutritional needs primarily based on age. Once your pup reaches his or her golden years, there are some dietary changes you will need to make. These changes enable the dog to cope with various body changes experienced in aging.
There is no medically-approved age definition for a senior. This age depends on your dog’s breed, size, and weight. When investing in dog food for senior dogs, these are some of the vital nutrients that might need to be adjusted to match your dog’s needs.
Dogs, like humans, naturally start losing muscle with advancing age. A senior dog hence needs extra protein to make up for the muscle loss and keep him or her strong. Your dog’s diet should have 75 grams of protein for every 1000 calories. Since a high protein intake tends to increase phosphorous levels, you might need to adjust your dog’s protein intake if he or she has a kidney issue.
Your dog needs insoluble and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps with bacterial fermentation, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to the dog’s stool. Some types of dog food have mixed fibers, such as psyllium, that aid in the relief of gastrointestinal problems. Your vet might recommend increased fiber intake if your dog has constipation and, in rare cases, lower fiber if it is proven to interfere with the dog’s uptake of other nutrients.
Some types of dog food are designed for senior dogs that are losing their muscle mass and hence have a high-calorie density for weight gain. If your vet recommends weight gain for your, dog the recommended calorie density should be 450 per cup. Low-calorie diets are however often ideal since senior dogs have minimal activity.
Many dog food brands are being touted as ideal for senior dogs. Be diligent when choosing the brand for your dog based on the above nutrients. Get a vet’s opinion on the precise nutrient adjustment you should make, and pay attention to the brand’s composition.