Every older dog is different when it comes to nutrition, but some basics apply to all dogs. Learn more about how to feed your senior dog in this guide.
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Always consult with your veterinarian before changing your older dog’s food.
Feed your Senior Dog With a Low-Calorie Dog Food
Since older dogs tend to be less active and have a slower metabolism, your pet may gain a little weight as he gets older. For this reason, changing your pet’s diet to a low-calorie diet may be a good idea.
A recent study showed that senior dogs need 20 percent fewer calories to maintain the same weight as younger dogs.
Older dogs benefit from eating foods with less fat and fewer calories.
How Much Protein Does a Senior Dog Need?
For dogs, meat proteins represent a large part of their diet, along with fruits and vegetables. One of the functions of protein in the dog’s body is to build and maintain muscle tissue.
In other words, older dogs lose muscle mass and need more protein in their diet to maintain this tissue.
When a dog starts to lose muscle tissue, the dog’s immune system is compromised, making the animal more susceptible to disease.
In addition, the dog decreases its physical strength, affecting its energy levels and mobility.
For that reason, experts recommend at least 25% protein daily caloric intake for senior dogs.
This way, your older dog will maintain his strength for longer.
Tips to Feed Your Senior Dog
Not only will your senior dog’s food have to change as he ages, but some eating habits will also need to be adjusted as well.
Here are some tips on how to feed your senior dog.
1- Feed your older dog less and more often
As your dog ages, it may be appropriate to feed him more often throughout the day but with smaller portions.
2- Give wet food at room temperature.
If your dog eats food that has been in the refrigerator, take it out up to two hours before mealtime to reach the proper temperature.
You can also heat wet food a bit in the microwave, but be careful not to overheat it, or you could burn your dog’s sensitive mouth.
3- Store dry food properly
Store dry food in a clean, dry environment in a sealable container or airtight container.
4- Feed your senior dog in a peaceful area.
Feed your older dog in a quiet place where he can eat without being interrupted. If you have more than one dog, feed them separately so that one does not bully or steal the other’s food.
5- Don’t over-feed your older dog
Older dogs are more likely to gain weight than young and adult dogs, so be careful not to over-feed them.
As an important part of his diet, your dog will need easy access to fresh, clean drinking water during the day and at night.
6- Use an elevated food bowl to feed your dog
Consider using a slightly raised bowl that will be more accessible to your older dog.
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