You may find that your dog wants to make life a little easier, as we all do as we get older! There will also be some less noticeable changes as they approach their higher stage of life. Your body and digestion will begin to change, and your immune system may need extra support.
To get the best for your furry friend, it may be a good idea to gradually switch him or her to a complete, balanced “older” dog food that contains high-quality protein as these are specifically tailored to your dog’s changing nutritional needs and eating habits.
Manage their inclusion
Because older dogs tend to be less active and have slower metabolisms, you may notice that your pet gains some weight as it ages. In the next few years, switching to a calorie-restricted diet can be a good idea.
Most older dog food formulas contain fewer calories and a careful balance of other nutrients, such as essential fatty acids and antioxidants, to help support aging joints and the immune system. Try any of the following Purina foods:
Because older dogs tend to be less active, especially if they have mobility problems like osteoarthritis, they can be more prone to obesity. While some health problems can lead to obesity, being overweight can also cause health problems and place greater stress on the joints. Because of this, it is very important to monitor your dog’s body condition regularly.
Older dog diets are generally lower in calories and higher in protein, so they can help control weight in older dogs.
If you think your dog is overweight, make an appointment to speak to your veterinarian and discuss the best way to go. It could be a simple case that your dog is eating too much, or it may have an underlying medical problem that can be fixed. In either case, your veterinarian may recommend a reduced-calorie diet for weight loss or a special diet for older dogs.
Before increasing your dog’s level of training, especially if he has mobility issues, seek advice from your veterinarian. A weight-reduced form of exercise such as hydrotherapy may help.
Change your food
It is always a good idea to gradually introduce the new food as you switch from one food to another. The same applies to switching from an adult to an older dog food diet. Start adding the new food slowly over seven to ten days, increasing the proportions daily. Avoid suddenly switching as this can give your dog an upset tummy.
How to feed your older dog
Your dog will likely be used to being fed twice a day, although they may prefer smaller portions more often as they age.
To enhance the taste and smell of the food, serve it at room temperature. Remember, if you are feeding your older dog food that has been kept in the refrigerator, you will need to take it out up to two hours before meals to reach the correct temperature. If this isn’t possible, it’s okay to briefly reheat wet food in the microwave, but be careful it never gets hot or can burn your dog’s delicate mouth!
Dry whole foods should be stored in a dry, clean environment. You can help make the food smell and taste good by storing it in resealable packaging or an airtight container.
When it comes to meals, feed your dog in a quiet place where they can eat quietly without being interrupted. If you have more than one dog, feed them at the same time but separately so that one does not harass or snatch food from the other. Older dogs with arthritis may have difficulty accessing their food, so they prefer a slightly raised bowl.
Remember that older dogs are more prone to weight gain than adult dogs. So be careful not to overfeed them. If you recently switched your dog to a new food, first follow the feeding instructions on the packaging. The instructions are only approximate. Therefore, regularly monitor your dog’s body condition and adjust the amount to maintain the ideal weight. As an important part of their diet, your dog needs easy access to fresh, clean drinking water day and night.