When our furry companion becomes a senior dog, the care must be doubled. They are more sensitive and susceptible to numerous diseases such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s, as well as depression and numerous behavioral changes. Among the care is in relation to the setting. When your pet is old, another problem is with regard to its food. Good food and healthy dogs have always been synonymous. So, getting the best dog foods for your senior dog is a good way to preserve it at this wonderful age.
At every stage of your dog’s life, nutrition plays a major role. Has your dog reached an important age of being referred to as a senior dog? If so, it may be the right time to switch to a dog food appropriate to its age. However, only half of the total number of dog owners introduce the necessary changes in the diet of their dogs once they reach an age.
Characteristics of The Best Dog Foods for Senior Dogs
As our dog ages, his caloric and nutritional needs change. Its metabolism, as it happens with humans and other mammals, slows down as it enters its old age.
You will still need a diet based on proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. However, we must adjust the amounts of lipids and carbohydrates to their new metabolic conditions. It is recommended to reduce the total daily caloric intake by 20%.
The food for senior dogs should be low in sodium, although this is a basis that must be met by all diets and food for dogs.
Today, there are foods especially indicated for dogs over seven years of age. This type of senior dog food has a lower caloric content and a special balance of all its macro-nutrients, especially indicated for these ages.
Also, senior dog food includes a greater intake of protein, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and a general reduction of lipids and carbohydrates.
It is recommended that you include a greater amount of fiber, as well. A compensation formula is sought to protect your immune system and delay the deterioration of muscles and joints.
The Best Dog Foods for Senior Dogs
The food menu for senior dogs requires special attention almost equal to that of humans. Care is needed to adequately dose the nutrients needed at each stage of life.
Aging of the organs of a dog is majorly due to oxidation reactions. So that in the current days, there are already offers of several foods with antioxidant properties, which hinder this process. However, it is important to know that any carelessness that promotes poor feeding of your pet – at any age of life – can accelerate the aging process. To this end, below is a list of 10 best dog foods for senior dogs:
- Meaty Bones
If your senior dog’s teeth are healthy, he may receive assorted meaty bones such as backs, feet, necks, chicken and turkey wings and thighs, and even meaty bones of larger animals (“feet” of pork, oxen, etc.), if the dog is of medium or large size. However, many elderly dogs have fragile teeth or absence of teeth due to periodontal disease. For these dogs, the consumption of pieces like the back of chicken can be somewhat difficult. The neck of the chicken, for being more subtle, is an alternative. If the dog is small in size, it may be interesting to offer the neck cut into pieces, or cut it and then grind it using a blender.
Incidentally, with the exception of chicken feet, any meaty poultry bone can be ground. Even the backs and wings. The meaty bones should, as well, be offered raw, so they are only part of the raw diet formulation. Cooking changes the composition of bones. When broken in chewing, cooked bones form rigid, hard-to-digest carbs that can puncture the dogs’ digestive tract or cause obstruction. The only exception to this is the chicken neck, whose circular and soft bones do not become potentially dangerous for consumption with mild to moderate cooking.
Many toothless dogs or even completely toothless enjoy “chewing” a bone with their gums. Providing a good recreational bone once a week or every ten days for these dogs will promote gum massage, plus lots of distraction.
Beside meaty bones, you can offer beef, chicken, pork, fish (raw or moderately cooked), exotic meats, white cheese, eggs (chicken, quail,), etc. Raw meats and eggs are infinitely more nutritious and contain higher moisture content. Meats of good origin, when submitted to a temperature of -18 degrees in a freezer, for 72 hours, are free of protozoa and helminth cysts (parasites) and can be offered raw without problems. However, if the dog does not accept these raw foods, they can be subjected to scald or light steam cooking, grill, oven or pan with little water to make them more palatable and attractive without significant loss of nutrients.
- Standard Foods
These are the foods available in supermarkets. Today, we can find such foods for senior dogs, but overall, these foods are little segmented according to the needs of each dog.
The difference in price between the different ranges is explained by the difference in the quality of the ingredients that make up each type of food. The quality and origin of the ingredients used are very different, which is why dogs sometimes find them more palatable.
Viscera, in general, are the organs of animals and should be offered because they are very nutritious. This should also be made available only in small amounts since high concentrations of nutrients can also cause diarrhea. This category includes cuts like liver, kidneys, spleen, etc.
Digesting vegetables is not the specialty of carnivores like dogs. So it does not matter if the dog is a puppy, adult or a senior: always liquify the raw vegetables, using a mixer or blender, or cook them. The only vegetables that should not be offered raw are tubers such as potatoes, and yam. As cooking also makes vegetables more attractive and easy to digest, especially in the case of these tubers. It is not necessary to liquefy the cooked vegetables.
Croquettes are dry industrial foods which tend to be one among the most used for senior dogs nowadays. They are also one among the best foods for senior dogs without sacrificing the pocket. They are made of chicken and beef, two excellent foods needed to provide the vitamins your senior dog needs to keep growing healthy.
- Canned Pie
Canned pies refer to industrial dog food, which is also very widespread today. This tends to be very palatable, it’s a real treat, so most senior dogs take delight in eating them more easily.
- Protein-rich Foods
The physical signs that warn that the animal is aging are varied: gray hair or white hair around the mouth and eyes, difficulties to perform the same physical exercise and problems to hear or see with the same clarity as before. As a result, the diet of an old dog must contain more proteins, which counteract the deterioration of their muscles
Protein-rich foods also help to counteract the possibilities of organ failure usually suffered by senior dogs.
Carbohydrate foods offer plenty of energy, which is interesting for senior dogs. In general, dogs love the taste and texture of cooked tubers and grains, which is also advantageous.
As they have not evolved to take advantage of starchy foods, dogs need to ingest these already pre-digested items. Artificially, this is achieved by cooking the grains and tubers. Potatoes, casseroles, and yams should be boiled in the shell (source of fiber and other nutrients) and may be offered cut or mashed. Whole grains are the most nutritious and least processed. But in order to lose properties that interfere a little with their digestion and the absorption of their nutrients, it is advisable to subject them to a pre-fermentation process.
- Premium Foods
These are the foods of “health” that you will find in specialized circuits (pet shops and garden centers) which are of superior quality and especially which are segmented according to the sizes of races, or physiological needs of senior dogs. Depending on your dog’s needs, there are foods which are suitable for him. You can find foods for senior dogs with normal activity, increased or reduced activity, as well as for those tending to be overweight.
In conclusion, when our dog grows older, their dietary needs change. The best food for an older dog should provide an extensive amount of essential nutrients. Such as antioxidants, which amplify the animal’s immunity and act against chronic diseases and in preventing the onset of tumors as highlighted above.
Maybe you have just thought about it naturally, or you may have noticed that your dog no longer eats his food with the same enthusiasm as a few years ago.
Sometimes dogs simply get bored eating the same thing, so it is advisable to change its feed so often to ensure balance and an adequate amount of food.
In the case of senior dogs, boredom is not usually the cause of lack of appetite. Many older dogs avoid eating because the extruded food causes discomfort when chewing or it is too hard for them. Many times we do not realize the loss of teeth or the deterioration, but this means that your dog needs special care and, of course, a proper diet. For more help as regards to the best dog foods for senior dogs, hellowdog is here to help.
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