As your dog gets older, their dietary requirements will probably change, so their diet may have to be adjusted to meet their needs. Here, our Cave Creek vets discuss the dietary requirements of senior dogs and recommend some of the best dog food options that may match the needs of your pup.
When are Older Dogs Considered Elderly or Geriatric?
The age a dog is considered elderly or geriatric can vary depending on its size and breed. Usually, small dogs have a life expectancy of 15-20 years, while larger dogs usually live between 12-15 years.
As bigger dogs age faster, they are considered to be "older" around the time they turn 6, while small dogs generally pass into middle age at around 8 years of age.
The Nutritional Needs of Senior Dogs
Yes, there are two major things you have to consider when picking the food best suited for your senior dog.
The first thing you need to know about is caloric intake. Similar to people, a dog's metabolism slows down as they get older, and it becomes easier for them to gain extra weight. This means pet owners have to make sure their dog is getting the right amount of nutrients and protein to thrive without consuming too many calories.
The second consideration is trying to make sure their diet includes high-fiber options. Constipation is painful and it could cause additional gastrointestinal problems when it becomes severe enough. Maintaining gastrointestinal health is a common obstacle for older dogs, so the best dog food for senior dogs will have lots of fiber to help them stay healthy and regular.
Special Foods To Help With Health Issues in Senior Dogs
Sometimes, veterinarians will prescribe specialized diets to help with certain health conditions in senior dogs. There are foods designed to help with a range of conditions, from kidney and liver health to urinary tract and digestive conditions.
Even if your older pooch doesn't have any specific health issue, it's still recommended to switch them over to dog food that's tailored for senior dogs to help preserve their wellbeing. Talk to your veterinarian about the best options available for your dog.
What to Do If Your Senior Dog Won't Eat Their Regular Food
It's typically normal for older dogs to experience some loss of appetite. If your senior pup has suddenly started to display an unexplained loss of appetite, you should contact your vet so they can rule out any underlying serious conditions such as dental disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer.
Once serious medical conditions have been ruled out as the cause for appetite loss, another avenue for consideration is the simplest one—perhaps your dog is tired of their regular food. You can try adding things like chicken broth, cooked chicken (unseasoned), or a small amount of canned food to your dog's dry kibble to make it more enticing.
Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs
Here we discuss some of the best foods and supplements for senior dogs that are recommended by our vets at Animal Health Services, you should be able to purchase them either at your local pet store or our online store and pharmacy. Talk to your primary care veterinarian about which foods would be the best dog food for your older dog.
Food For Small Senior Dogs
Hill's® Science Diet® Dog Senior 11+ Adult Small Paws™
Hill's® Science Diet® Dog Senior 11+ Adult Small Paws™ Dry dog food provides precisely balanced, easy-to-digest nutrition tailored to older small & toy breed dogs.
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition SMALL Indoor Senior Dry for Dogs
Royal Canin Small Indoor Senior dry dog food (formerly called Indoor Life Senior) is made to help support your small older dog's quiet, indoor lifestyle. Optimal levels of EPA, DHA, and a complex of antioxidants support healthy aging.
Best Food For Large Older Dogs
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition LARGE 8+ Dry for Dogs
Canin Large Aging 8+ dry dog food (formerly Maxi Aging 8+) is tailored to support your large senior pup’s vitality. An exclusive complex of antioxidants supports cellular health to help reduce the signs of aging.
For Dogs with Food Intolerances
BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet™ Dog HF Hydrolyzed for Food Intolerance Dry
Formulated for dogs that have food sensitivities, BLUE HF Hydrolyzed for Food Intolerance helps minimize your dog's chance of having adverse reactions to common proteins.
Supplements For Senior Dogs
SmartCanine™ Joint Senior Soft Chews
SmartCanine™ Joint Senior Soft Chews are designed to support healthy joints and normal inflammatory responses in senior dogs.
SmartCanine™ Combo Senior Soft Chews
SmartCanine™ Combo Senior Soft Chews are made to help support the joint, digestive, skin, and coat health in senior dogs.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.