We all want to help our dogs to live long, healthy lives. If your dog is getting older and slower, you may be worried about how much weight he has gained. You may have a senior dog that once gulped down his food, but now seems to have lost interest in it. When a beloved dog ages, his eating habits and dietary needs can change dramatically.
At what age is a dog considered senior
It depends on the body weight and breed. Large and giant breeds mature more quickly than smaller dogs. Also, overweight dogs age faster than their fit counterparts. Dogs are considered senior when they reach half of their breed's life expectancy.
Special nutritional needs
Senior dogs require lower-calorie diets to help prevent obesity and higher fiber diets to promote gastrointestinal wellness. With a slower metabolism, older dogs are likely to gain weight and become obese. Many dog food manufacturers produce senior dog food formulas as age-appropriate food for older pets because they are lower in calories. If possible, you should feed your dog a diet suitable to his stage in life.
Should senior dogs take supplements
A lot of older dogs struggle with arthritis and joint pain. To address this problem, many senior dog foods contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to help ease joint pain and inflammation. Dog owners deciding to give their dogs glucosamine and chondroitin supplements should use specially formulated canine brands, not human ones. While these supplements may be helpful, dogs with joint problems and arthritis benefit as much or more from losing weight. Below are 2 of the most popular selling joint supplements in the United States for pets.
What else can I do for my senior dog?
It's important to understand that caring for your senior dog is not just about focusing on the diet or brand of food. It is also about a maintaining a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle. Consider providing ramps or stairs to provide access to beds or furniture and make it easier for your dog to traverse flights of steps. Carpeting on smooth surfaces may help your dog maintain his footing. Make sure your senior dog regularly visits with your veterinarian. Many vets recommend twice-yearly exams for senior dogs or more if your dog has severe health problems. A thorough physical examination by your vet may disclose health issues that can impact your dog's comfort level and lifespan, such as kidney disease, arthritis, and heart disease. Don’t neglect your dog’s oral health because gingivitis can result in bacteria entering the bloodstream and cause health issues to his organs.
Disclaimer: We are NOT licensed vets. DO NOT try to diagnose or treat animals based off this or any other information you find on the internet. This page is just basic information to help bring awareness to different health issues that are common in pets. If you pet is having any kind of medical issues, please seek professional treatment from a licensed vet who is trained and set up to handle such matters.