Senior dogs have different nutritional requirements compared to puppies and even adult dogs in the prime of their lives. Your pooch’s metabolism starts to slow down a bit as he gets older, and this is entirely normal. Rather than feeding your dog higher-carb foods as you did when he was a puppy, food formulated for senior dogs has fewer calories because of your pooch’s lower metabolism. Happy Go Healthy discusses your furry friend’s nutritional requirements as he goes into his golden years.
Overall Diet for Senior Dogs
Dog food companies produce high-quality foods geared towards various stages of your dog’s life. Beginning between ages six and nine, senior dogs should start to receive food that has higher protein, with less calories, sodium, and carbohydrates. The overall goal is to promote healthy digestion, skin, coat, and joints.
Carbs are necessary because they affect the metabolism of senior dogs. Lower carbs and lower calories help prevent obesity and weight gain in older dogs as they naturally slow down. There’s nothing wrong with your dog’s appetite. He needs 20 percent fewer calories to maintain his weight than he used to. Rather than feeding your dog less food, try feeding him the same amount of food with a different combination of nutrients.
Protein is, perhaps, the most vital nutrient for senior dogs. One study showed 13-year-old beagles need 50 percent more protein compared to 2-year-old beagles. Protein helps increase reserves of this nutrient due to less muscle mass. Protein reserves in your pup’s muscles and skin help your dog’s body respond to stress, infections, and disease.
Fiber, including pre-biotic fiber, helps your dog digest nutrients, alleviate constipation, and regulate glucose production. Beet pulp in particular — found in Happy Go Healthy’s mess-free supplement — doesn’t cause bloat or contain sugar that can throw off your dog’s metabolism. Fiber can help prevent metabolic disorders such as diabetes found in senior dogs.
If you have multiple dogs, you may find it challenging to feed your senior dog a special food. Multi-stage foods, suitable for puppies, adult dogs, and older pets, are acceptable. Instead of separating food among all of your dogs, give dog treats that are healthy, low in fat, and low in sodium for your senior pooch. Adding a dietary supplement to kibble also helps your dogs receive complete nutrition.