It is not just humans who begin to feel the weight of age over time. Pets too. And it is at this stage of life that they need even more love, patience and care. That is why it is important to be attentive to food, always offering food for elderly dogs, which will be able to supply a good part of everything that the years take away from your best friend.
From teething to the digestive system, everything changes when your pet gets older. And, if you came here looking to learn more about how to provide quality of life for your puppy at this stage of life, follow us and learn all about the difference between traditional food and the food developed especially for elderly dogs.
The most important
- Small dogs take longer to show signs of aging. Large dogs, on the other hand, can be considered elderly from 5 years of age. However, there are other factors to which aging is conditioned.
- With advancing age, the dog tends to be calmer, and his physical activity is reduced. Therefore, he must consume foods with fewer calories. Also, the ideal dose of protein will maintain muscle mass, which contributes to its vitality.
- When buying food for your friend, make sure it is old dog food. On the market, there are options with complements for every need of your pet. We will talk about this later.
The best old dog food: our recommendations
Like any pet owner, you certainly want the best old dog food to offer your companion. For this reason, we have prepared a selection with the most superior products among consumers. Thus, you can already give a little of the variety and benefits that each manufacturer guarantees to your dog.
- All-natural senior dog food
- Wet food that assists in chewing and digestion
- Dog food that improves dental health
All-natural senior dog food
Free of transgenics and without chemical preservatives, Chronos Premium is preserved with the action of vitamins C and E. Its formulation is rich in omega 3, chondroitin, glucosamine, and the functional beta-glucan.
Thus, the food forms a protective shield for your puppy’s joints. It also helps preserve mental and cardiac health, increase immunity, and block your buddy’s inflammatory processes to age with more quality.
Wet food that assists in chewing and digestion
This wet consistency food was developed exclusively to meet the needs of senior dogs. In addition to the aroma that helps awaken your appetite, the texture of pate helps during chewing, which is more laborious at this stage of life.
Balanced, the composition with light proteins facilitates the digestive process. It also has a high concentration of natural antioxidants, such as selenium and vitamin E, essential for healthier aging.
Dog food that improves dental health
Ideal for small dogs over 12 years of age, this feed contributes to preserving your dog’s oral health. That’s because it has calcium chelating agents, which fight tartar.
It is also rich in actives, which leave the dog with the most beautiful and fresh skin and hair. Thanks to the unique antioxidant complex, it contributes to your best friend’s healthy aging.
Shopping guide: What you need to know about old dog food
At first, old age is not a comfortable period. However, whether for humans or pets, this is the natural evolution of the life cycle. Therefore, the best thing to do is to seek alternatives and adapt to the changes. In this guide, we will talk about the major transformations of this phase and answer the most common questions regarding the diet for elderly dogs and their benefits for this dear family member.
When to start offering the food for elderly dogs?
By general rules, the dog reaches the beginning of senility at around seven years of age, but this can vary from one breed to another. That is, not all dogs age the same way. As with humans, many factors contribute to the aging cycle. Therefore, the idea is to consult the veterinarian to determine the best time, according to your dog’s breed and size ( 1 ). Still, we can give you some tips to identify signs that your friend is becoming an elderly dog. Let’s go to them:
- The size of the animal influences. The size and breed of the dog play a significant role in the stages of life. Some dogs reach the end of adulthood at five years, for example. Others, such as small ones, become elderly only at the age of 7. There are still those who become senile only after ten years.
- The race can condition the stages of life. Some races take longer to age. These dogs are sure to live longer. For example, we can mention the dogs of the beagle, Shih-Tzu, or chihuahua breeds.
- Physical changes begin to appear. The dog will have white fur, arthritis, and dryness on the footpads. Also, it is common for your friend to develop urinary incontinence and lose sight or hearing.
- Every rule has an exception. Aging is an individual process for each living being. Therefore, if you notice that your dog is already old but has no health problems, remain active. With a weight under control, you can continue on the same diet, unless there is a veterinarian’s indication for the change.
Why does the elderly dog need differentiated food?
First, we must remember that, for each stage of life, there are specific nutritional needs. In the case of elderly dogs, there are many changes in the animal’s metabolism that generate nutritional deficiencies. These can be supplied through exceptional food. Therefore, the diet for elderly dogs is a “little help” in the form of vitamins and supplements, which will ensure more health and quality of life, so that your friend can face the action of time, which brings discomfort such as joint pain, for example.
Also, the slower metabolism, natural at this stage, leads to decreased dog activity. As a result, the body requires fewer calories to maintain itself. Experts recommend that this consumption decreases between 8% and 12% in elderly dogs ( 2 ).
Another difference is that elderly dogs tend to have a slower digestive system and constipation is one of the main consequences. Thus, the feed for elderly dogs ensures more fiber to accelerate intestinal transit.
Is it common for the elderly dog to reject the feed?
It can happen, yes. This usually has specific causes that can be reversed. If your dog starts to become numb to food and starts to reject the food, the first thing to consider is that, when he gets older, it is natural that he needs fewer calories since he is not as active as before. First of all, make sure that the problem is not with the feed itself. It may be that he is no longer happy with the taste or even the texture, for example. To be sure, the indication is to change the brand and observe the pet’s behavior.
If your friend is already ancient, it may be that he is no longer able to see well or even that he has impaired smell. So, just put the ration closer, so that he realizes that he has food available.
Finally, also note if he feels pain while chewing. It is common for teething to begin to weaken at this stage. If this is the case, wet dog food is the best recommendation.
What kind of dog food is best? Dry or wet?
Certainly both types of feed are important for both the young dog and the elderly dog. The two have properties that complement each other and offer distinct advantages to the body.
The recommendation of experts is that, when adopting the food for elderly dog, you try to combine dry and wet food. Thus, your pet will benefit from nutrients present in each of them. In the table below, we show the benefits of each type of feed:
|Benefits of dry food||Benefits of wet food|
|Strengthens the teeth while the animal chews. This is very important, as with advancing age, the dentition tends to become weak||The quality feed contains much of the protein needed to maintain muscle mass in the elderly dog. Wet food, on the other hand, may not offer much protein, since it is composed, in large part, of water|
|Dogs that have lost their teeth due to old age have, in wet food, the only way to feed, due to the pasty consistency||It has large amount of water, which helps in the hydration of the animal. Dogs often like the texture of pate|
Now that you have understood a little more about your pet’s aging process and how to identify the signs of age, you should be more confident to change your companion’s diet and adopt the old dog food. However, some factors need to be considered before the final choice. See each of them in detail.
Is old dog food made up of natural ingredients? Do you have chemical additives? In addition to these questions, which concern the origin and quality, you must pay attention to the feed composition before offering it to your dog.
Remember that meat, fish, and vegetables are essential for old dogs and guarantee extra-strength during life. Find out what are the most common ingredients in old dog food:
- Meats, such as chicken or lamb. They offer much of the necessary protein. On the packaging label, it is possible to check the percentage of meat in the feed—the more protein in the composition, the better its quality.
- Animal by-products. Among the elements that provide proteins are animal by-products. That is, parts not consumed by humans, such as feathers, beaks, spines, and cartilage. Therefore, note the number of by-products in the composition. If it is high, it indicates that the quality of the feed is not so good.
- Fish and fish products. They also offer essential protein. Besides, they are rich in Omega 3 and vitamins A, and D. Salmon is the most common. Some manufacturers use the whole fish. Others, only parts, such as the viscera, for example. This must be described on the packaging.
- Cereals. They are essential because they provide carbohydrates and some group B vitamins. In the case of old dog food, it is recommended to choose whole grains. Thus, the amount of fiber ingested will be more significant, which will aid digestion.
- Vegetables. Many vegetables can be included, with great benefit, in the diet for elderly dogs. To count on vegetables is to provide many vegetable proteins, minerals, fibers, and vitamins that your puppy needs.
- Salt and sugar. Both are necessary. Mainly to give more flavor to the feed. However, it is good to be aware of the quantities. Salt guarantees essential minerals, but it can harm the urinary system if consumed in excess. On the other hand, prefer the natural one like beet or sugar cane.
The recipe for having a well-fed elderly dog is to ensure that it consumes at least 155 more protein than it used to consume when young ( 3 ). Even so, it is essential to avoid excesses, as this can also bring losses.
Remember, also, to prioritize products with the meat itself and no animal by-products. For carbohydrates, try to keep them to guarantee the fiber necessary for good intestinal transit.
Fat helps maintain healthy skin and hair, but it should also be consumed in a sensible way to avoid obesity, as the metabolism tends to slow down at this time in your puppy’s life.
Your pet can become more vital to face the effects of time if it has a balanced diet and rich in nutritional supplements. Thus, it will also be protected from damage to the senses and the brain.
Therefore, it is worth looking for a food for elderly dogs that make this supplement through daily food. The complements below are very important:
|Complement||What is it for?|
|Calcium and phosphorus||Keep bones and teeth strong and healthy|
|Vitamin C||Prevents brain wear. Did you know that dogs can also have Alzheimer’s?|
|Zinc||Strengthens the immune system|
|Hydrolyzed collagen||Helps strengthen joints and reduce pain that comes after years of canine antics|
|Luisa and leucine herb||Help regenerate muscle mass and are antioxidants|
|Tryptophan||Helps you sleep better and makes you less irritable and aggressive, common features in old dogs|
|Glucosamine||Helps delay the inevitable wear and tear of cartilage|
If your pet is aging with health and vigor, do not hesitate to maintain its nutrition based on dry dog food with a dry texture. This is good for the teeth to remain active, in addition to providing more concentration of the necessary nutrients.
On the other hand, if your little friend already finds it difficult to chew, the alternative is to offer moist food, which will be a great ally to prevent the dog from rejecting food and may become even weaker.
Old age is a phase that, due to the natural logic of life, reaches everyone. Therefore, your puppy should also go through this. It indeed brings some negative aspects, such as seeing your friend lose the early years’ strength and vitality. However, there are also positives, such as enjoying long hours of tranquility and complicity. Above all, it is a time when care must always be on your radar, especially about food.
Good dog food should be as complete as possible with nutrients, quality proteins, and a little salt and little fat. These points have been dealt with throughout this guide and that you will undoubtedly observe before making such an important decision to buy a food appropriate for this new phase of your companion.
We hope that this material is support in your choice. Feel free to leave us a comment and share this article with your friends.