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How to feed your senior dog

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As we already know, older dogs need a high-quality, complete, balanced, and specific feed for this advanced age. When and why should we make the change from adult dog food to a senior one?

Thanks to a balanced diet and advances in veterinary medicine, the life expectancy and quality of our dogs are increasing and longer. They, as we have said, need a specific diet adapted to the metabolic changes that occur in old age.

The moment that determines the transition between adulthood and senior age varies according to the breed and size of the dog. In general, larger dogs have shorter lives than smaller ones. For example, it is expected that a large dog can live 10 or 11 years, while another of mini size can even reach 17 or 18 years of age. Based on this, around 7 years would be an average transit age for large breed dogs and 10 years for a small breed or size dog.

 

What are the 6 signs of the beginning of the “golden age” in our dogs?

Less activity. Older dogs become less active. Our friend will need more time to rest, and will spontaneously reduce daily exercise.

Obesity can quickly become a problem, as our dog’s metabolism will be slower. This, added to the decrease in activity, favors weight gain.

Osteoarthritis and joint problems. It is very common in older dogs, especially those of large size or predisposed breeds. In addition to palliative treatment, a weight control program is essential to reduce impact and joint overload.

Depending on the age and the animal, signs of cognitive dysfunction or behavioral changes may appear. Click on this link to learn more.

It is possible that changes related to the urinary and digestive systems appear with age. The frequency of urination may increase, needing to urinate more times a day, as well as the frequency of defecation or the consistency of the stool. Constipation is also a problem associated with age due to the slowing down of the digestive process and the lack of physical activity.
Oral and eye health. Gingivitis, associated with the accumulation of tartar and age in the case of oral health, and cataracts in the case of ocular health, are frequent findings.
We must be alert and pay attention to the appearance of these basic signs that indicate that we are entering the senior stage of our dog.

In that case, a veterinary review is essential to establish health protocols for review and control, as well as adapting their diet to their current needs.

We will introduce the new diet gradually, as explained in this post. Your diet must be of high quality and balanced, combining a nutritional profile low in protein and fat to avoid the tendency to be overweight caused by the slowdown of metabolism as we have explained.

Phosphorus and calcium levels must be restricted to prevent renal deterioration and protect retinal health. Likewise, the inclusion of chondroprotective to mitigate the progression of osteoarthritic processes typical of this age is convenient, as is the extra supply of B vitamins that contribute to better liver and heart function and slow down the deterioration of the nervous system.

Let’s not forget that food is healthy. Let’s give our dog the best so that he can enjoy a healthy and happy life for more years.

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