When they reach a certain age, our four-legged friends have a little different needs, which is also reflected in their diet. Unlike food intended for puppies, designed to enable development of the organism, adult dogs need food adapted to their slowed down metabolism, designed to increase the life span and improve the quality of life of the pet.
As dogs age, their organism’s needs for certain ingredients in food change, too. Although many believe that senior dogs should cut down on protein, as it allegedly causes health issues, many studies have been conducted in recent years, but none of them proved this claim. However, it is true that a high percentage of protein in the diet of dogs with urinary system issues can stress their kidneys, so it’s advised to reduce protein intake for these dogs. On the other hand, perfectly healthy senior dogs with reduced protein intake could become malnourished, so a pet shouldn’t be protein deprived without a good reason.
Senior dogs diagnosed with kidney problems should be put on a diet with limited amounts of phosphorus and proteins. Protein sources for senior dogs should be easy to digest and should contain high biological value.
Senior dogs with heart conditions should have a diet with reduced sodium intake. The amount of copper, zinc, manganese and vitamin B group in meals of senior dogs should be twice as high as the amount in adult dog meals. The same goes for vitamin E, which has proven to be an amazing antioxidant that suppresses oxidative stress in dogs which greatly contributes to the aging process.
Apart from food, water is another important element. This precious fluid should be at their disposal at all times. However, if you notice your dog is drinking large amounts of water, be sure to consult the vet, as this could indicate a kidney disease or high blood sugar.
As you can see, the diet of dogs in their old age is no small challenge for dogs and owners alike. It is vital to understand and adopt the dietary principle based on the dog’s individual needs regarding body mass, physical fitness and physical activity at this age. Nowadays, there is ready-made food intended for senior dogs on the market. There are special types of food for small, medium and large breeds, so all you have to do is choose the perfect combination for your dog.