Our dogs' bodies undergo a great deal of change as they become older. In addition, their dietary needs shift. The body's consumption of energy and the amount of energy it needs to create vary as a result. As a result of this process known as metabolism, the need for calories and fat reduces in dogs.
Many pet owners are unaware that they are overfeeding their aged dogs, which has resulted in an increasing number of obese and overweight dogs and the accompanying ailments.
Connecting the dots between health and illness
Dogs over the age of six months are already more likely to acquire kidney and heart problems as well as diabetes and arthritis; they are also more likely to develop cancer. As dogs get older, their immune systems decrease, increasing the infection risk and slowing the healing process. Some people are predisposed to sickness because of a genetic breed relationship. There are particular diets for pets with special needs to help combat or at least lessen the consequences of certain illnesses.
Older dogs having kidney disease, for example, are fed more digestible protein; others with cardiovascular disease are provided diets that are reduced in salt content, for example. Omega-3 fatty acids and extra antioxidants may help animals with brain function issues, and cancer patients may also benefit from addition of these nutrients to their diets.
Changing your dog's food right away may be crucial to slow the advancement of an existing ailment, depending on their health. When the illness cannot be cured, diet adjustments can typically lessen the more serious impacts of the illness. Foods made with easily digestible fats, proteins, & carbohydrates may make a major difference since they are easier just on digestive system to allow the body to better manage its energy stores.
Antioxidants & omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are known to promote immunity & enhance the overall body's ability to heal, can be added to the diet to maintain the power of the old immune system.
Even if the dog is not currently afflicted by a sickness, these adjustments are an effective method of preventing the spread of disease. Consult your veterinarian to ensure that the diet you provide for your dog is customized to meet his or her unique nutritional requirements..
Everybody should have a checkup at some point in their lives.
Maintaining the health of a dog requires regular visits to the veterinarian as much as when they were puppies and novice risk-takers who needed to be monitored. Your veterinarian will be able to assess if your dog needs a particular diet as he or she ages by monitoring the dog's organ function. The yearly exam can also save you money and pain in the long run by catching the first signs of an approaching disease before they become obvious to you.
Senior dogs' diets necessitate alterations in terms of nutrients.
Even though some older dogs may not require changes in the nutrient makeup of their diet, there are nutritional modifications which may specifically benefit elderly dogs based on a number of criteria. Here are a few of the most often asked questions:
As a vet, I get a lot of questions about "How so much protein does an elderly dog need?" and for valid reason. Senior dogs lose muscular mass as they get older because their protein stores are depleted more quickly than in younger canines. To compensate for the loss of amino acids, more protein provides amino acids that keep aged dogs strong and mobile. As a result, the optimum protein content per 1,000 calories for senior dog meals is greater than 75 grams. Check out our dog food nutriend calculator for an accurate view of the protein-to-calorie ratio in your pet's current food.
In dogs with kidney illness, phosphorus consumption should be reduced by reducing the quantity of protein in their diets, as this tends to increase the phosphorus content of the food. When the condition has progressed to a certain point, controlling phosphorus is necessary to keep it at bay. It's still up in the air whether or not these dogs should be restricted in their protein intake. What is apparent is that dogs on a diet high in protein have never had an increased risk of renal disease.
In some cases, older dogs may need more or less fat in their diets: Some older dogs have difficulty gaining weight. Diagnosing the root cause of your dog's weight loss can be difficult if you don't consult your veterinarian first. If the dog is losing muscle mass, an elevated diet is essential; if the dog is losing weight for any other reason, the vet may suggest a diet heavier in fat. A senior dog who is overweight may benefit from a low-fat diet, on the other hand.
In some cases, older dogs may require somewhat fiber: Soluble fiber, which bacteria use as "food," and insoluble fiber, which bulks up the stool but isn't broken down by bacteria, are the two types of fiber. Psyllium, a mixed fiber, is found in some elderly dog meals to help support the digestive system in general. A high-fiber diet may help older dogs with constipation, especially if they are prone to diarrhea. On the other hand, some senior diets may contain less fiber that usual, possibly due to fiber's ability to reduce absorption of vital elements such as iron and calcium. For older pets, it's not yet known which fibre modifications (more or less) is preferable.
Having a lower and higher calorie density For those wondering, "How many calories do senior dogs need?" the simple answer is: it's complicated. Some foods for the elderly are designed being more calorically rich, while others are designed to be a little less. Your dog's weight increase or loss relies on the calorie content (calories per cup) you choose. Here are a few general rules:
Higher-fat diets containing and over 50 g of fat for every 1,000 calories can lead to weight gain in dogs.
Reduce your dog's caloric intake to less than 350 kcal per cup of kibble, or use a pre-portioned meal.
Due to the decreased activity level of the elderly dog, lower-calorie diets may be the best option. The activity level of dogs decreases as they become older, which means they don't need to eat as many calories. Portion management is critical! However, a vet may recommend a diet richer in protein & calories for senior dogs that are losing muscle mass.
Finally, always seek the advice of your dog's veterinarian so that you can evaluate what is best for the dog and make the necessary adjustments.
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