A dog enters his senior years when he reaches 75% of his life expectancy. From this age on, his metabolism changes and his energy is no longer that of a young dog. Sometimes his health deteriorates.
This article will teach you what to feed an older dog to keep his strength despite the passing years.
Feeding an older dog with the right food
An older dog needs two meals per day. He essentially needs water, fat, protein, fibre and calcium. An older dog’s digestive system begins to tire and deteriorate over time. Therefore, he needs an adequate diet.
Advantages of natural food
You can choose the ingredients for your natural recipe therefore making sure the basic ingredients are fresh. For our senior dog, white meats, such as chicken, veal and fish, are good for his health. Red meats are not recommended at a certain age. Here are some advantages of natural food:
- First of all, natural food has a tangible impact on an older dog’s health. It is qualitative because all the components of the dish have the same nutritional value and have a positive effect on his health. It is very digestible and the result is reflected on soft stools and less malodorous than those produced with other foods.
- Secondly, you have a wide choice of ingredients for natural recipes. 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 depending on the situation for the well being of your companion. The nutritional elements just need to be provided according to the dog’s needs.
- Finally, you know the origin of your older dog’s food because you have taken the time to buy it from your local butcher, prepare it and cook it with care. Unlike other factory prepared foods whose origin is uncertain, natural food does not contain any additive that could be harmful to your doggie’s health.
Disadvantages of natural food
Even though natural food is light, it still have some disadvantages:
- It is difficult to ration your older dog‘s food accurately. This is detrimental to his health as an unbalanced diet can lead to a deficiency or overdose. The preparation then requires concentration and great care in calculating the dose of each ingredient.
- The preservation of this food is complex because bacteria may contaminate the entire meal. It is therefore necessary to prepare a sufficient quantity without excess. The cost is also higher because fresh products are expensive. You need a well-stocked wallet.
- The consistency of the food is soft and it will quickly build plaque on your dog’s teeth. This food is not very good for oral hygiene.
There are two types of industrial food: dry food such as kibbles and wet food such as tinned food and pouches.
Advantages of industrial food
Industrial food is usually shaped in the factory with added substances to improve the taste of the final product. It is made up of meat, vegetables and cereals, and chemical additives.
However, there is a premium kibble specially designed for your senior dog. The composition of the kibble varies according to the creators of dog food. But it is always well designed to ensure that the food is healthy.
Aimed at making life easier for canine owners, industrial food is an important part of the market. Here are the strong points of this food.
- Easy to prepare, the master only has to open the package and put the food in the bowl and that’s it. For more sophisticated foods, you just add water or preheat it.
- Easy to store and cheaper, you no longer have to worry about storage and therefore avoid waste. Food is not likely to rot. You can therefore budget and stock the quantity you want. Buying kibbles in large quantities is cheaper than buying them in small quantities.
- Nutrient content is accurate because it is indicated on the packaging. It allows you to give the appropriate ration according to your dog’s needs. All the nutrients are present.
Disadvantages of processed food
Industrial food, however, has some disadvantages that should not be overlooked:
- Industrial food is processed and all components no longer have the same basic nutritional value. You will need to add food supplements such as fish oil or brewer’s yeast.
- Raw materials used to make this food are not necessarily guaranteed. For example, sugar, fats and chemical flavor enhancers are dangerous to your older dog’s health if they are of poor quality.
- These condiments cause constipation in your senior dog, which proves that your doggie is having trouble digesting his food.
Tips for feeding an older dog
Here are some tips to help you feed an older dog
- The food should be light to your dog’s digestive system in order to relieve digestion.
- Choose a fragrant meal to stimulate his appetite.
- Your dog’s meal should be neither too hot nor too cold. Give your dog warm food.
- You must prevent your doggie from gaining weight as he gets older, as this accelerates the deterioration of his organs. Therefore, avoid feeding him food that provides high energy levels.
- Don’t stop the physical exercises that you make him do regularly if he is still able to do them without suffering. Maintain his mobility.
- Good nutrition promotes the good health and well-being of your dog, even in old age.
- An older 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 if he’s calmer and if he doesn’t move around as much, his metabolism is slower. All this is the effect of age.
Now that you have an idea of how to feed an older dog, you’ll have a happy life with your canine friend, away from the impact of time and disease.
DogsPlanet.com is one of the main websites for dog owners, future owners and dog lovers. Our team of authors seeks to answer the questions that you frequently ask yourselves.