Feeding your senior dog
As your dog gets older, things might start to slow down a bit. They might spend less time running around and more time relaxing in the warm, thanks to their older joints or age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis. All of this means they might start to gain a few pounds as they age. If this sounds like your dog, it’s time to switch to a specially formulated senior dog food!
Senior dog foods are specially formulated to give your pet 100% complete and balanced nutrition that meets their changing needs, but there are other things to take into consideration as well. Read on to find out more about feeding your older dog.
When to start feeding senior dogs
There is no exact age that your dog is considered a senior, but it generally begins at around seven years, depending on their breed. Your vet will be able to give you individual information, but in the meantime, you’ll be able to see from their behaviour whether or not they’re ‘slowing down’.
What to feed senior dogs
The best food for your dog is one specially formulated for their age. Senior dog food tends to contain fewer calories, as your dog doesn’t need quite as much energy now they’ve started taking things a bit easier. Higher levels of protein may also help them feel full without adding too many calories. They also contain a balance of nutrients that’s appropriate for their needs, such as antioxidants and essential fatty acids for their healthy joints and their healthy immune system.
It’s important that their calorie intake matches their changing needs, as too many calories can lead to unnecessary weight gain and conditions associated with being overweight.
If your dog is putting on weight, it may be because their food intake doesn’t suit their reduced activity levels – but it’s always best to seek the advice of a vet first. If your dog is losing weight instead it may indicate an underlying health condition, and you should see your vet right away.
If your senior dog has a reduced sense of smell or taste, or just a poorer appetite, it might be helpful to give them a wet dog food rather than a dry one. They can smell more appetising, and they’re easier to chew and swallow as well.
How to feed senior dogs
TServe your senior dog’s food at room temperature, as this will help release the aroma of the food – the perfect way to get tails wagging! If your dog eats wet food and it has already been opened, take it out of the fridge a couple of hours before feeding time so it has time to return to room temperature.
Most dogs are fed twice a day, but your senior dog might prefer to be fed smaller amounts several times. Whichever you choose, make sure you don’t go above their recommended daily allowance!
Even if your dog loves being at the centre of attention, many older dogs would prefer to eat in a quiet space away from all the chaos of family life. Choose a peaceful spot that they can call their own, and they’ll be licking the bowl in no time.
Other tips for feeding your senior dog
Even if your canine friend is eating a diet specifically formulated for senior dogs, weight gain is still possible if they’re not getting enough exercise. Make sure they have a regular exercise routine in place, and make things more exciting by varying what they do – for example, take them along a new route or try a new game with them. Just make sure you don’t overtire them! If you’re unsure about how much exercise they need, ask your vet for advice.
If your dog loses their appetite, it’s a good idea to get them checked out. It could mean anything from an underlying condition, such as minor dental problems, to simply not fancying their dinner! If in doubt, ask your vet.
Bakers® senior dog food
If you have a senior dog with an appetite for tender*, meaty chunks and crunchy kibble, try Bakers® Senior Dog Food with tasty chicken or beef. Each bowl is 100% complete and balanced, with wholegrains for fibre, minerals and vitamin D for strong bones and healthy teeth, and antioxidants to help support their natural defences. It also contains less fat that our standard Adult food, which can help prevent weight gain.
*softness varies with time
With a suitable diet, enough exercise and plenty of affection, your senior dog should continue to lead a happy and healthy life!