Old age comes with a lot of issues and it is equally struggling for your Senior dog. Senior dog food is parallel-y important for an aging dog as it is for a puppy.
To keep your little furry friend as healthy as possible during the hardest phase of his life, you need to have a thorough understanding of what his body calls for.
It becomes extremely difficult to understand the bodily requirements and shifting the dietary needs of an aging dog. This leaves dog parents in a fix and often leaves them wondering if at all senior dog food is necessary.
Well, senior dog food form one of the most complicated, yet important part of any dog’s nutrition.
With age, their body becomes slow with a decreased metabolism and since their no information about a proper senior dog diet, it is one of the most complicated areas of dog-parenting.
We at dogisworld care about your pooch and his well-being. We have tried to clear all the confusion about senior dog food and how to keep your doggo healthy during his golden years.
Table of Contents
How Old Is Old?
Different dog breeds age at different times. A small dog breed is known to live longer than a large dog breed.
The easiest way is to understand that your pooch is touching his old age is when he has crossed more than half of his lifespan. So, if a Chihuahua lives for 15 years, he would be a senior dog by the age of 8 or 9.
In general, small dog breeds are considered senior dog at around eight or nine while larger dog breeds are considered senior dogs by the age of five or six.
What Are The Signs Of Aging In Dogs?
It is very difficult to see your dog grow old relatively quicker than you. And if keep a close eye on your dog, they will start showing symptoms as early as their first year of being a senior dog.
There are five things that your dog will bark out loud while he is aging.
“I can’t see or hear or taste properly!”
Canines are known for their vision and hearing but with age, it starts to weaken. There may be instances when your dog absolutely misses the ball pass by him or doesn’t respond to what you have to say.
Well, it is the early sign of your dog aging. To be prepared in advance, start teaching your dog hand signals so it becomes easier for them if things worsen.
“My anxieties are having anxieties.”
With age, your fierce and strong dog may slowly develop a nervous temperament. It may be so that he snaps if you touch him without any prior hints.
Have you ever experienced your dog crying or shivering in sleep? It is precise because with age they tend to get scared of something as petty as a bad dream.
One needs to keep a lot of patience with senior dogs. Treating him with comfort and affection is very important
Never wake your senior dog suddenly from sleep since it can increase the chances of cardiac arrest in dogs. Keep calling his name slowly as you got closer to him.
“I can’t work out like I used to.”
A senior dog may require the same amount of food but it doesn’t mean they can burn calories the same way.
Aging makes a dog more lethargic and slower with a weaker athletic potential.
This means that even though your dog follows the same dietary routine, it may not be able to shed that. Which again calls for proper senior dog food to cope with his growing ailments and weakness.
“I may forget commands sometimes.”
A loss of cognitive ability may be a common problem in older dogs. Even humans tend to forget things with age.
“I am not even half my life expectancy but I can hardly recall for I had for breakfast.”
Well, dogs are sharper that way and may not forget their name but they forget some basic commands.
Bathroom accidents may become a common sight with increased spatial confusion.
It is as important to senior dog-proof your house as it was to puppy proof. Keep all the accident-prone objects away from your dog’s roaming space to avoid unnecessary injuries.
“I need more help with grooming.”
With impaired mobility and loss of spatial sense, a dog may become extremely confused about bathroom etiquette and table manners. This demands a constant requirement to keep an eye on every activity of his.
He may need you to sit by him while he eats, so that you can clean his muzzle as and when required. Sometimes, you might just have to feed him like a baby too.
Additionally, old age brings dry nails and skin, and rough coats. You need to acquire a comparatively stringent grooming routine for a senior dog.
Understanding The Proportions
Now, as your fido grows older, his dietary requirements change. He needs a well-balanced senior dog food with all the nutrients in a proper quantity.
You can’t be feeding your dog more calories if he is becoming slow on walks.
A detailed understanding of the senior dog food nutrients vis-à-vis your dog’s changing habits will keep your pooch a lot healthier and happier.
Do Senior Dog Food Needs Protein?
The dog world rumor has it that proteins should not be included in senior dog food since it overtaxes the kidneys.
Well, that’s not all that true.
It all started with the 1940-rodent-research where senior rodents died due to high protein intake.
As close as humans can be to rats, dogs still stand out in the animal kingdom.
Both in behavior and diet, dogs are not rodents, for sure.
Studies have knocked the bottom out of the idea that senior dog food should not include proteins. In fact, dogs require more meat, therefore more proteins, for healthy muscles.
Since a senior dog is more prone to muscle and tissue damages, protein should form a decent part of the senior dog food.
Decreased protein reserve is one of the many reasons that a dog may get slow metabolism. Senior dog food should include an increased protein-to-calorie ratio with at least 25 percent of calories from protein.
What About Calories?
There is a lot of fur-ore in the canine kingdom about the number of calories in a senior dog food diet.
With the growing age of your furry friend, he may experience a change in his metabolism rate with high chances of calories being stored as fat.
If you want your dog to weigh on a similar scale as when he was a puppy, you have to feed him fewer calories. You can also include an L-carnitine in his diet which will help his body use stored fat for energy.
But the proportion of calories in senior dog food is not all that simple, after all. It is much more complex and depends entirely on the bodily changes of your dog.
You may often see older people tending to lose weight more than gaining it. It can be the same for a senior dog too. If you see your dog losing weight unnaturally, don’t freak out.
In such cases, a dog generally has a decreased appetite due to loss of sense and taste, and difficulty in swallowing. This calls for increased calorie intake. Studies have shown that surging calorie and fat intake can help increase palatability and protein efficiency in such cases.
How Much Fiber In A Senior Dog Food?
If your dog is bloating with age, chances are that he may require an added level of fiber with low calories. However, possibilities are less than a dog will grow on a scale.
Old age brings weigh losing tendencies and including fiber in senior dog food may decrease the intake of some other essential nutrients.
A lot of vets do not recommend fiber since it also degrades a dog’s digestibility.
Should Minerals Make A Part of Senior Dog Food?
Most dog parents recommend less sodium for senior dogs. Dog, especially the ones suffering from hypertension, heart problems and kidney problems need the least amount of sodium.
Don’t get rid of sodium completely, just decrease the amount.
Dogs are like humans, just better versions of them.
Calcium supplements are not required for your fido if you have maintained a proper diet his entire puppy and adulthood.
Apart from that, always keep his bowl of water full because chances of suffering from dehydration are high for a senior dog. Try encouraging him to drink water as often as possible, and especially after workouts.
Maintaining a senior dog food diet is not big of a deal and comes naturally to a dog parent. The quintessential part being a proportionately measured balanced diet.
Yeah, it may all sound synonymous, but you gotta understand what you gotta understand.
The only other thing that needs to be taken care of is to provide your fido with comfortable and healthy golden years.
Senior Dog Food – What To Include?
Let’s get one thing clear – your senior dog does not require that expensive commercial senior dog food. There may be hundreds of dog food brands promising to sell high-quality senior dog food but I say from a first-hand experience, “homemade dog food remains the best senior dog food.”
A senior dog requires raw nutrients and commercial senior dog food is just going to add to his health issues. In fact, most of them have high rates of adulterants.
You are a grown-up, sensible adult. Decide what is good for your dog.
Provide fresh and natural ingredients to your dog. Meaty portions like beef, chicken, duck, pork, and lamb can do wonders to the health of an aging dog.
Since, dogs tend to eat less as seniors, adding vegetables to enhance the taste will encourage your dog to eat.
Sweet Potato, Spinach, Pumpkin, Beans, Peas, and maybe some Bananas.
Supplements For A Better Taste
Senior dogs slowly start to lose their sense of taste and smell which results in a loss of appetite.
Adding supplements and spices enhances the taste and strengthens the smell motivating your dog to eat.
Turmeric, Kelp, Olive Oil, Fish Oil, Probiotics, and Glucosamine can really benefit your senior dog.
Additionally, you have to keep certain other things in mind too.
- Include fruits in the diet of senior dog food. Avoid giving preservatives and juices. It is better to have the fruits cut freshly and fed immediately. Beware of the toxic food for dogs.
- You can add extra nutrients in the senior dog food like omega-3, vitamin E, beta-carotene, fatty acid, and other minerals as an additional supplement to help your senior dog cope with aging.
- Take your fido to a vet from time to time to have a thorough understanding of how your dog is aging. If your dog does suffer through certain ailments, the vet will provide you with a better dietary plan.
- Do not change your dog’s diet suddenly for it could meddle with his stomach, mood, and health. Change it steadily over two weeks. In addition to that, make sure you give a little amount of changed diet and observe your dog for a week.
Suggested: 46 Toxic Food For Dogs
Our Top 3 Homemade Senior Dog Food Recipes (Vet Approved)
We totally get the confusion about homemade dog food especially when it comes to senior dog food.
A senior dog needs well-balanced and high-quality dog food to ease his living during the golden years.
We always suggest homemade dog food for senior dogs because it provides the nutrients in the rawest forms. Additionally, you finally know what you are feeding your buddy.
No more daylight robbery!
We have a well-curated platter to satiate your dog’s taste buds.
Our absolute favorite, this is one of the best and healthiest replacements to any commercially produced senior dog food.
1 lb of beef stew meat
1 small sweet potato
½ cup of diced carrots
½ cup of diced green beans
½ cup of water
2 tablespoons of organic vegetable oil
- Microwave the sweet potato for five to eight minutes until 80% tender.Cut up the beef stew meat into nickel-sized chunks.
- Heat vegetable oil in medium heat in a large pan.
- Add the stew chunks and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until well done.
- Take the beef out of the pan but reserve the drippings.
- Dice the cooked sweet potato.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and heat the drippings.
- While whisking, slowly add the flour and water to the drippings to make a thick gravy.
- Add the sweet potato, meat, green beans, and carrots to the gravy and mix to coat.
- Cook about 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
- Let the stew cool completely before serving to your senior dog.
- The leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.
The Old Standard
You know this one already, don’t you…
…the same old standard chicken and veggies. You can feed that to your senior dog without any risk.
1lb of lean chicken breast
¼ cup of mixed veggies – broccoli/sweet potato/carrot/zucchini
¾ cup of brown rice (optional)
2 tablespoons of organic vegetable oil or olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Cook the chicken breast (do not add any salt or seasoning).
- Cut up veggies and steam until cooked 80%.
- When cooked, chop up into bite-size pieces, mix in with the veggies, and feed your dog the required portion.
Save the rest for another day.
If your dog loves chicken we have a lot of dog food recipes with chicken which is healthy and tasty. Just to suit your dog’s needs.
Note: Make sure there is more meat than veggies. It will leave your dog lick-smacking.
Drooling dog days are gone. Now even your four-legged buddy can enjoy a delicious bowl of chicken casserole.
We’ve got your hungry dog’s back, and stomach!
4 pieces of boneless chicken with skin
½ cup of carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup of cabbage
1 cup of broccoli
½ cup of green beans
½ cup of spinach
1 ½ cups of brown rice
2 tbsp olive oil
- Rinse your vegetables and steam them until they’re almost soft enough to mash.
- While your veggies are cooking, put your chicken in a pot and add water to cover it (the water should be almost an inch above the chicken).
- Bring the pot to a slow boil and boil the chicken until the meat is cooked and the water turns into an aromatic broth (which should not take more than 20 to 30 minutes).
- When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot but reserve the broth.
- Cook the brown rice in three cups of chicken broth.
- Remove the chicken skin and chop the chicken and steamed vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces.
- When the rice is finished, combine it with the veggies, chicken, and olive oil in a large bowl and mix.
- You can also add some chicken broth.
- Let the casserole cool completely before serving to your dog.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to three days
Bonus: Let’s Go Bananas and Peanut Butter Treats
What’s food without a well-made dessert. Here’s for the dogs who love sweet Jesus calories more than anything on the dog planet.
A treat a day keeps ruff days away!
1/3 cup peanut butter
½ cup mashed banana
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup wheat germ (alternative: oats)
1 lightly beaten egg white
- Preheat your oven to 300° F.Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
- Stir the peanut butter, egg, banana, and honey in a bowl until well blended.
- Add the wheat germ and flour and mix thoroughly.
- Put the dough on a floured board and use a floured rolling pin to roll it out until it’s about ¼-inch thick.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut into your desired shapes.
- Place the biscuits on the baking sheet and gently brush the tops with the beaten egg white.
- Bake the biscuits in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they are golden brown and crisp.
- Put them to cool.
And the treat is dog-ready!
A dog is a 13-year long commitment that is not just about cuddles and playing the fool. When you bring home a dog, you bring home a responsibility not less than having a child.
Give a thorough thought before you finally decide to have a furry-friend on board. What happens next will a lifetime of adventures and memory with your little buddy but what’s more important is to give him a comfortable and happy lifestyle.
It all boils down to being a good parent. It all boils down to whether or not you care for the dog just like he cares for you.
Make his last years’ worthwhile!
Frequently Asked Questions
All senior dog breeds – be it small, medium, or large, require the same kind of senior dog food. The only difference that remains is the quantity which changes according to the size, age, and body requirement. Without any doubt, yes! Just like humans, even dogs require alterations in their diet along with age. With age, a dog becomes lethargic with a slower metabolism. This calls for a different diet for your buddy. Every dog becomes a senior at different ages. A small dog breed is known to live longer than larger dog breeds. While your Pomeranian jumps around in his cute little hoody, your Goldie might be getting slow. A lot of! Being a dog parent, it is your responsibility to give your dog the best additional care he needs while he is aging. Keeping him healthy should be your priority which demands a balanced and well-nutritional senior dog food. There is a million senior dog food available in the market. However, we at dogisworld suggest you settle for well-balanced homemade dog food. That way you know what you are feeding your buddy and alter it whenever, however, you want it.
Dog with health ailments requires a vet-approved diet while others can survive well on homemade dog food. Read our article on senior dog food to get an in-depth knowledge of what to feed your growing dog.
It is necessary to know your dog’s bodily requirements and feed him what is best.
You can start senior dog food for the smaller breed when he reaches 8 or 9 while for a large breed, you can start senior dog food when he is 5 or 6.
A portion of proper senior dog food makes his growing easy inviting less health issue.
All senior dog breeds – be it small, medium, or large, require the same kind of senior dog food. The only difference that remains is the quantity which changes according to the size, age, and body requirement.
Without any doubt, yes! Just like humans, even dogs require alterations in their diet along with age. With age, a dog becomes lethargic with a slower metabolism. This calls for a different diet for your buddy.
Every dog becomes a senior at different ages. A small dog breed is known to live longer than larger dog breeds. While your Pomeranian jumps around in his cute little hoody, your Goldie might be getting slow.
A lot of! Being a dog parent, it is your responsibility to give your dog the best additional care he needs while he is aging. Keeping him healthy should be your priority which demands a balanced and well-nutritional senior dog food.
There is a million senior dog food available in the market. However, we at dogisworld suggest you settle for well-balanced homemade dog food. That way you know what you are feeding your buddy and alter it whenever, however, you want it.
Hope this article helped you plan a healthy senior dog food diet.
If you have any questions or concerns, let us know in the comment section below.
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Happy Petting To You!