Nutrition plays a crucial role in any pet’s health and well-being, and you undoubtedly have already established a type of dog food that your canine pal prefers to eat, as well as a routine as to how much and when you feed him. However, as your dog gets older, this will inevitably need to change. Why?
There are a variety of reasons why it is important to adapt your senior dog’s diet to his advancing age. By far the most important is that is his nutritional requirements to remain healthy will have change. As your canine gets older, his health and stamina will slowly decline, with his body losing the ability to repair itself and maintain normal body functions. His metabolism will slow down, and he will become less active, meaning that he needs far fewer calories to function day to day. This means that if you continue to offer the same food and calorie content as when he was younger and more active, he will very quickly start to put on weight.
Weight and the health of your older dog
We have already established that your canine’s health will begin to be compromised due to the ageing process. However, if he also puts on weight, this also increases the likelihood that his health will begin to suffer. Studies have shown that obesity, whether in people or animals, will put you or your senior dog at risk of a variety of serious health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, liver and kidney disease and even cancer. Therefore, by changing your senior dog’s diet for a lower calorie alternative, you can help prevent him from putting on weight that could be detrimental for his health and well-being.
The right nutrition to deal with diagnosed health conditions
Whether age-related or otherwise, your senior dog may need to eat a diet that meets certain nutritional requirements that will help manage his conditions. For example, there are certain manufactured foods designed specifically to meet the needs of dogs with conditions such as diabetes, kidney problems and even arthritis.
In some instances, your vet may recommend that you give your dog a ‘regular’ senior diet, but that you also give him certain nutritional supplements that will support his health. For example, many older canines that suffer from arthritis are recommended glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate supplements to help with joint mobility.
Diet changes for dental pain
Our dogs aren’t immune to dental problems and as your furbaby gets older, these are much more common. Periodontal disease is the most prevalent dental condition amongst dogs, with around a third of canines developing it by their third birthday. By the time your dog reaches his senior years, the problem can have progressed enough to cause considerable dental pain and make eating difficult. Many owners choose to swap their dog onto a softer diet as this is easier on his teeth and gums and less likely to exacerbate any tooth pain.
When it comes to changing up your senior dog’s diet, it is essential that you listen to the advice of your vet who has the training and experience to be able to recommend the most suitable nutrition for your pet. To schedule an appointment at our veterinary clinic in Denton, TX, to discuss the best diet for your senior dog, please telephone our offices.