A dog is in its senior years when he reaches 75% of its life expectancy.
From this age onwards, his metabolism changes and his energy is not the same as that of a young dog. Sometimes his health deteriorates. However, this article will help you feed your senior dog to keep him strong as the years go by.
Feeding a senior dog the right food
An older dog needs two meals a day. The digestive system of a senior dog begins to fatigue and deteriorate with age. Therefore, he needs a proper diet.
Feeding an older dog is quite tricky. Therefore, a natural diet prepared by you is recommended.
While you’re cooking, suddenly, your dog looks at you. You want to give them a little treat but wonder if they can eat the food you are holding in your hand.
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Benefits of natural foods
You can choose the ingredients for your natural recipe and make sure that the raw materials are fresh. For our senior, white meats, such as chicken and veal, and fish are healthy. Red meats are not recommended at a certain age. Here are some benefits of natural foods:
- First of all, natural food has a tangible impact on the health of an older dog. It is qualitative because all the components of the dish have the same nutritional value and is full of benefits for an older dog's health. It is very digestible and the result is that the stools are softer and less malodorous than those produced by other foods.
- Secondly, you have a wide choice of ingredients for the natural recipe. The menu is more varied and your dog is not likely to grumble in front of his bowl. You have the choice to add or remove an ingredient according to the situation for the good of your companion. You just have to make sure that the nutritional elements are present according to the dog's needs.
- And you know where your senior dog's food comes from because you've taken the time to buy it from the local butcher, prepare it and cook it with care. Unlike other factory-prepared foods whose origins are uncertain, natural food contains no additives that are harmful to your dog's health.
Disadvantages of natural food
Even though natural foods are light, they still have a few drawbacks:
- It's difficult to portion your senior dog's diet accurately. This is detrimental to your dog's health, as an imbalance in the diet can lead to a deficiency or overdose. The preparation of the food requires concentration and great attention to calculate the dose of each ingredient.
- The conservation of this food is complex because bacteria can contaminate the whole meal. It is therefore necessary to prepare a sufficient quantity but not too much. The cost is also higher because fresh products are expensive. A well-stocked wallet is required.
- The consistency of the food is soft and will quickly scale your dog's teeth. This food is not very good for oral hygiene.
There are two types of industrial food: dry foods such as kibble and wet foods such as tin food and pouches.
Benefits of industrial food
Industrial food is usually made in a factory, and substances are added to improve the taste and intake of the final product. It is made of meat, vegetables and grains, and chemical additives. However, there is a premium kibble specially designed for your senior dog. The composition of the latter varies according to the manufacturer of dog food. But it is always well studied so that the food is healthy.
Aimed at making life easier for dog owners, industrial food is a big part of the market. Here are the highlights of these foods.
- Easy to prepare, the master has only to open the packaging and put the food in the bowl and it's done. For more sophisticated foods, you just add water or preheat. The time saving is tangible. Instead of spending time preparing and cooking food, you have more time to play with your furry friend.
- Easy to store and less expensive, you don't have to worry about storage. There is no waste because the remaining food can easily be stored. There is no risk of food going rotten. Therefore, you can budget and stock up on the quantity you want. Buying kibbles in large quantities is cheaper than buying small quantities.
- The nutrient content is accurate, as it is indicated on the packaging. It allows you to give the appropriate portion according to your dog's needs. All the nutrients are present.
Disadvantages of industrial food
However, industrial foods have some disadvantages that should not be overlooked:
- Industrial foods are processed, however, not all components have the same basic nutritional value. You will have to add food supplements such as fish oil or brewer's yeast.
- The raw materials used to manufacture this food are not necessarily guaranteed. For example, sugar, fats and chemical flavour enhancers are dangerous for the health of your old dog if they are of poor quality.
- These condiments cause constipation in your senior dog, proving that your dog has difficulty digesting his food.
Tips for feeding a senior dog
Here are some tips to help you feed an older dog:
- The food should be light to your dog's digestive system to ease his digestion.
- Choose a fragrant meal to stimulate his appetite.
- Your dog's meal should not be too hot or too cold. Give him warm food.
- It is important to prevent your dog from gaining weight as he ages, as this accelerates the deterioration of his organs. Therefore, avoid giving him food that provides too much energy.
- Do not stop the physical exercises that you make him do regularly if he is still capable without suffering. Keep him mobile.
- The right diet promotes the good health and well-being of your dog, even when he is old.
- An old dog does not have the same appetite and needs as a younger one. Don't force him if he doesn't finish his bowl. Don't panic either if he is calmer and moves less, his metabolism is slower. All this is the effect of age.
- Now that you have an idea of how to feed a senior dog, you'll have a happy life with your companion away from the grip of time and disease.
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