Senior Dog Nutrition
We are always looking out for our dogs best interest because we want them to be healthy and live as long as they possibly can. When senior dogs get older the nutrients they needed when they were younger can change as they get older. An active puppy is going to have different dietary needs then a older dog that is less active.
One dog is different from another
Ideally, when your dog gets older they might need lower calories, higher protein, lower sodium and fewer carbohydrates. Fewer calories are needed when they get less active. Putting fewer calories in a dogs diet will help reduce obesity. In order to keep up their muscle mass and immune function, a higher protein diet can be beneficial.
Some dogs get congestive heart failure and then a low sodium diet is preferred. This diet will help your dog release backed- up fluid in its urine so that their organs are no longer as strained. This will have your dog feeling good again. With carbohydrates, every dog will digest grains a different way so each dogs tolerance is different.
The size or breed of your dog can make all the difference when it comes to their food! As a lot of people already know, large breeds age faster than small breeds. For six years of human life a small breed is forty years old. When you compare that to a large breed, they are already forty-five. Dog food companies supply customers breed specific food now. They might make a food targeted towards a Miniature Schnauzer. That food may help reduce the chance of high cholesterol because that is an issue they are prone to.
After winter everyone is eager to get outside including our dogs! Older dogs need their exercise just like younger dogs do. It can help keep their joints from becoming stiff and maintain digestion. A lot of dogs suffer from Arthritis and the winter can make it hard for them to move around. Arthritis happens when cartilage in a dogs bones begin to thin. When the cartilage thins, bones rub together and can break down. The friction is painful and reduces mobility. Once it’s a comfortable temperature, dogs can enjoy the weather outside.
Unfortunately along with spring come seasonal allergies in dogs of all ages. Itching, redness and dry skin are all common symptoms. Keeping a clean house and using a humidifier can be of some help. Giving your dog a bath with special shampoo made to help dry skin and irritation is also another option available. From personal experience, I used to have a Lab and she would itch all the time from dry skin. I switched her to a salmon based food and it reduced her dandruff and dry skin. Its awesome how that small change made all the difference.
Food allergies in dogs of all ages are common. Your dog may start scratching at a certain part of the body such as their feet. Sometimes they will get ear or skin infections that keep reappearing. They may vomit or get the diarrhea. I was grooming a dog that was broken out all over his body. The poor thing looked miserable especially with a bad ear infection as well. The dog was eventually brought to the vet and it turned out to be a food allergy. Next time I saw him his ears and body were starting to clear up nicely. Most common issues you see come from meat, eggs and dairy. Some dogs get doctor prescribed food whether its for an allergy or a different health condition they may have. The vet will give you a little prescription card for when you buy the food.
And you just keep learning..
Being a dog owner you are always learning. I personally didn’t start learning until I started at a pet retail store. The cool thing is you can learn almost everything you need to know online. This will help you make the best decisions possible for your dog. I used to think every dog food was the same so I bought the cheapest thing I could find on the store shelves. Knowing better now I can make better choices when going into a purchase.