Experts Give Tips on Nutrition for Elderly Dogs

As pets age, your metabolism slows down and fall activities. As with people, the diet needs to change to meet the demand of their different lifestyles, said Linda p. Case, Faculty of veterinary medicine at the University of Illinois, in the United States, author of the “Canine & Feline Nutrition: A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals”. But, when you must change the dog’s diet and what kind of senior diet must be provided?

Most commercial diets classifies the dog of 7 years of age as a senior, but age varies depending on the size and breed of the dog, said Rebecca Remillard, Ph.d., of the team of nutritionists of elderly Animals Animal Medical Center in Boston. “I’m not an advocate of changing to a senior diet simply because the dog has reached a certain age,” she said, adding that each dog must be monitored individually. The veterinarian can help determine if the dog is ready to a senior diet, based on your race, weight, activity level and overall health.

Senior diets are often equivalent to a diet for chronic kidney disease, in which the reduction of protein is prescribed. Many people think erroneously that elderly dogs need a diet with low protein, said Case, but the protein requirements does not necessarily decrease with age if the dog is healthy. Elderly dogs still need protein to maintain muscle mass. The protein turns food into energy and the amount of energy required depends on the size of the dog, and activity level of your health. A senior diet specially formulated with less protein can, for example, be suitable for small dogs and sedentary, but not be suitable for older dogs and more active.

Once the older dogs tend to gain weight, senior diets typically contain less fat, 10 to 12%, as opposed to a minimum of 15% for many adult formulations. More fibers are added to formulas for the elderly to dilute calories, control hunger and reduce constipation, a common problem for older dogs. You can find a wide variety of diets for elderly dogs in stores of supplies for pets, so you should consult a veterinarian to find out what the best option for the dog individually in PetwithSupplies.

Some formulas for elderly dogs add supplements such as chondroitin and Glucosamine, to help with the pain in the joints. Remillard, however, said that Glucosamine levels in some foods may not be sufficient for all dogs and, again, consult a veterinarian to evaluate the specific demands of the dog. The lack of interest in food may be caused by a disease, such as liver or kidney disease, which may require a prescribed diet. A dental problem can also cause the dog doesn’t eat properly. Small changes in palatability of foods can help while the owner and veterinarian work to correct the condition. Some diets offer smaller pieces of kibble for easier chewing. You can also add water or broth to let food smoother, or mix with canned pates to make food more poignant.

Overall, the diets of elderly supply the same nutritional needs of adult food with less fat, less calories and more fiber to accommodate the change in the dog’s body. We already know enough about canine nutrition these days to know that a formula is not suitable for all animals, said Case.

What is contained in the package?

Nutritional adequacy statement.

The most important information on food packaging for dogs is the nutritional adequacy statement, which says that the food provides complete and balanced nutrition that meets the standards of the American Association of Animal Feed controls (AAFCO). Most veterinarians recommend premium foods that have undergone tests of AAFCO.

Guaranteed analysis.

This allows one to monitor the minimum quantity of raw fat and protein and maximum quantities of moisture and tows. This does not guarantee that the exact amounts are present, but not quantities are smaller or greater than those listed.

List of ingredients.

The ingredient list highlights the ingredients in order of your weight, starting with the heaviest and ending with the lighter.

Noting the weight of the dog

If the dog has gone from being thin and active to overweight and lazy in just a few months without having changed the food portions or reduced their exercise, may be because, as with people, the dog gains weight and have less energy as you get older. Studies show that overweight dogs have shorter life expectancies. The reduction or weight maintenance when the dog is already elderly can help the animal live longer and improve your quality of life.

If an assessment determines that the dog is healthy, serve smaller portions of your daily food to avoid weight gain, starting with the minimum amount written on the label depending on the size. If the dog does not get satisfied with less food, you must change to the senior diet has less calories and fat, but more fiber to let the animal satiated. Elderly dogs usually get along with a senior diet, but very elderly dogs can really lose a lot of weight, said Remillard.