The purpose of a senior dog food diet is to prolong both the quality of life and the life span of your dog.
Life span differs by size and breed. On average small dogs live about 14 years and larger dog breeds about 10 years. Based on these numbers you should consider a small dog to be a senior when he's 7 years old and as early as 5 years for large dogs.
Well, time flies when you're having fun but this senior label is not to say you're dog is old and should not be running and playing.
Far from it, in fact. To remain healthy and happy your tailwagger should play and walk just like younger canines.
But… any dog is an individual and not all dogs age the same. When your dog is still very active your should not consider him to be senior. Putting your dog on a senior diet too soon, can affect his health condition negatively. So… use the same method as when you determine how much to feed your friend: use your eyes!
Remember this: Putting your dog on a senior diet too soon, can affect his health condition negatively. So feed with your eyes!
Look for these signs:
Do you recognize (some of) these? Then please continue reading…
A senior dog food has a slightly different composition as compared to a regular dog food. Some of the most common seen differences are:
This question can be answered by looking at the rational behind the adjustments in this kind of dog food (see list above). So let's go and see.
Less calories applies to the lowered activity as seen in most senior dogs. But perhaps yóur dog is only senior by age and still playing and running around like a grown-up puppy. Then this is not applicable in your situation. Otherwise, a dog that burns less calories should be fed less calories to avoid canine obesity.
Senior dog food has fewer calories, usually because it contains lesser fat. However, dogs need a sufficient amount of fatty acids, especially omega-3 and 6 fatty acids that reduce stiffness of the joints and reduce inflammatory diseases.
Fat is also an essential component in dog food because of fat solvable vitamins which should be present in any dog food. So less fat means that the remaining fat in the food should be of high quality to deliver all essential nutrients that are associated with fat.
When a food is very digestible it means your dog will produce less waste. However, when your senior dog has a low activity level his intestine motility is lowered as well, creating a higher risk of constipation.
So by adding more fibers to the diet of seniors, you stimulate intestine motility which is a good thing in these dogs (providing the quality of the food is still excellent).
These dogs are really working hard for us. Running, jumping, tail high. Chris a 10 1/2 year old Belgian Malinois is still on the job. At an age when most police dogs might be ready for retirement.
“Once we started to add Total-Zymes and Total-Biotics to our older dogs food, we immediate started to see a improvement in their over all health and power,” states Officer Mike McCarthy of the Santa Ana, California Police K-9 unit, “Normally you would see a service dog retired at 8 to 9 years but using these products has definitely extended Chris in active duty.”
Often senior diets contain less proteins and the reason for this is probably because of the assumption that an older dog's kidneys won't function at 100% anymore. However, not every old dog is a kidney patient. Especially older dogs need proteins to repair cell damage. So high quality proteins are more important than just the amount of it.
Some older canines have high blood pressure, but - again - not all of them.
Vitamin B complex has an important function in metabolism and nerve-regulation.
Dogs (as well as cats) can make their own vitamin C out of glucose, though adding extra vitamin C can be beneficial when demand is higher (in case of vitamin A and E shortage).
Many different dog food brands sell senior dog food formulae. Below are just a few examples.
Main ingredients: turkey, potato and ground brown rice. It also has added probiotics, vitamins and other nutritious nutrients such as kelp and fish oil.
This diet is formulated in accordance with the AAFCO dog food nutrient profile for maintenance.
Blue Buffalo - which can be ordered online via Amazon - manufactures dry dog food for senior dogs, small breed seniors and large breed seniors:
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The "Confidential Dog Food Report" is an e-book written by Andrew Lewis. Now for those of you who know him, you know that he doesn't think highly of commercial dog food. In fact he likes homemade dog food diets. But commercial dog food is not always bad of course.
You just need to find the best food for YOUR pet. Andrew has listed the top 9 dog food brands that are just better-than-good, which is a good starting place for you. After all homecooking can be nice on occasion, but commercial dog food is very convenient. Just find the right one!