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The following article is provided by Woof Whiskers, a financial supporter of Pet Rescue. The content reflects their opinions alone and are not necessarily shared by Pet Rescue.
All dogs have varying nutritional needs. From puppy to the active youngster, on to the aging dog, the type of food and supplements you give your dog will change. As your dog approaches his golden years it is more important than ever to shift his diet. What are the dietary needs of an elderly dog that will keep him healthy, happy and comfortable?
New dog owners looking for an elderly dog have many questions regarding dietary needs. What is the best food for a senior dog? What types of supplements should I consider? How do I deal with a lack of appetite or dental issues? There are answers to these questions and guidelines to follow to help take the guesswork out of keeping your best friend healthy as they age.
There is no magical number for determining when your dog becomes a senior. The size, weight, and breed of your dog will play into the equation of what makes them elderly.
In general, larger breeds of dogs have a shorter life expectancy than small breeds. Large breeds typically reach the senior age around 5 or 6 years old. Smaller breeds can live 12 to 15 years and may not be considered seniors until 8 or 9.
Many dogs are still very healthy and active when they reach senior status, however, adapting their diet and nutritional needs will help them keep up their energy levels and can help keep them healthy for the long run.
Pets WebMD provides expert advice on caring for your dog’s nutritional needs as they age. One of the main concerns is that as a dog ages, their metabolic rate slows down as does their energy level. Less movement and activity means your dog is more likely to become overweight or obese.
There are many dog food companies that offer choices for senior dogs that are lower in calories. Snacks should also be given sparingly if weight is a concern. Snacks should be low in calories and salt. Vegetables make great snacks and most dogs love carrots and apple slices.
Let’s take a look at the most common health problems that affect senior dogs and how you can adjust their diet to keep them healthy.
The American Kennel Club (AKA) offers some signs that your dog is beginning their senior years.
Signs that your dog is aging include:
There is a line between aging and elderly or geriatric. If your dog has entered the geriatric phase of his life, he is nearing the end of his senior period. The symptoms may be more severe and include:
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