How to Feed an Old Dog
One of the biggest concerns for dog owners is food. When a dog becomes older, it cannot be fed in the same way. The dog's intake must adapt to its life stage. Many people do not introduce the necessary changes in the diet of their furry friends as they age and this is a real mistake can that have an impact on the dog's health. On OneHowTo we tell you how to feed an old dog. Read on and discover the keys to keeping your pet healthy and happy.
As a dog gets older their nutritional needs change, but there are many people who do not take any measures to adapt the feeding habits to the life stage of their dogs. You must make changes in your dog's food when the dog reaches seven years old, which is old age in dog years.
An adult dog doesn't need the same nutritional and caloric intake as a puppy that is growing up. Your pet's diet must change and evolve as they go through different life stages, just as it happens for humans.
The key to feeding an old dog is to reduce the fat content in its diet. When a dog is in this stage of life they need the same basic nutrients as a young dog. These elements are fats, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for an older dog.
Your dog also needs minerals and vitamins that are used to make all the necessary nutrients to make it strong and healthy. The key is to vary the amount of these components. Your dog needs fats to keep its body temperature stable, but these fats need to be controlled. Fats also help keep your dog's skin and hair in perfect condition. All you have to do is ensure there's a lower proportion of fat in your dog's daily diet.
An older pet performs much less physical activity, meaning that the dog begins to burn far less calories than it used to. An old dog is more likely to be overweight because of the reduction of activity, so it is essential that at this time your dog eats food with less fat as they do not burn it as easily.
You should monitor the diet of your pet because if your dog is overweight there's an increased risk of your dog suffering from diabetes or even worse, ailments such as arthritis. The key advice is that your dog's calorie intake should be reduced by 20%. There are dog foods that have been designed especially for senior dogs that meet these dietary recommendations. Food for older dogs tends to be low in calories and it has a high percentage in fibre to satisfy them.
The diet of an elderly dog should also have an important protein intake. Old age is evident in various signs such as hairs greying around the mouth and eyes, problems performing physical effort and difficulty seeing or hearing clearly. The importance of proteins is crucial because they help counteract muscle wasting of an old dog. In addition, they also help the dog to replace lost muscle mass. Just as with young dogs, older dogs need these nutrients to transform food into smaller substances that the body can use to function correctly.
Another important recommendation for your dog is to give them vitamins. Over time, an old age dog may suffer from memory loss and you can combat this by giving them a higher intake of vitamin C. This will delay the breakdown of the brain because it is a powerful antioxidant. The best practice is to increase the amount of vitamin C.
Another change in older dogs is frequent changes in mood. Your dog may seem a little more moody than usual and there are some ingredients like tryptophan to help control the mood of your pet. This will help the dog feel more at ease, staying calm and sleeping well.
Last but not least, visit your veterinarian to evaluate the changes in the dog's diet. Do not take this decision on your own. Do your research and compare different products. Take your dog for a health check and depending on their status, age, race and volume of physical activity, the professional will provide the necessary assistance to make the change in your dog's diet gradually.
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