As your pet dog ages, you may notice his energy level decreases. You may also notice a change even in his eating habits. You’ll want to work with your vet to determine the nutrients your pooch needs to maintain his weight and give him the energy to remain active for many years to come. Here are some suggestions from the staff at Homestead Gardens Farm and Pet regarding things to keep in mind when planning a nutritional program for your aging pet.
- Calorie maintenance – Many senior dogs will slow down a bit, which could cause them to gain weight. If this is the case, you may want to cut back on the amount of food your dog eats or change his diet for something that has fewer calories. Sometimes dogs lose weight as they age, though. If this is happening with your pet, be sure to set up an appointment for him with your vet to ensure a health condition isn’t causing an issue.
- High fiber – Like humans, dogs need fiber to maintain good digestive health, and senior dogs especially will often experience health issues relating to the digestive system. Many dog food brands make senior options that contain higher amounts of fiber for this exact reason.
- Quality snacks – It might be a surprise, but the healthy vegetables and fruits that make great snacks for you also are great options for your dog. So when you’re cutting up an apple, consider adding a slice or two to your dog’s food bowl; it will be a nice treat for him and won’t disrupt his diet.
- Joint Support – Dogs need support way before they reach ‘senior’ status. 1 in 5 dogs, especially larger breed dogs, could use support for optimal hip and joint health throughout life. Cartilage supporting agents will help promote cartilage health in your dog as he ages. Look for ingredients including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is also a safe and effective nutrient in promoting joint comfort and supporting a normal range of motion in animals. If your dog needs treatment now, start with a therapeutic dose and taper to a maintenance does. It may take a few months to work.
We love our pets and want to keep them healthy and with us as long as possible. So make sure you’re feeding your dog the food he needs as he ages and his body changes. Feel free to talk with our friendly staff for recommendations and advice as you transition into a new nutrition regimen.