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.
Always consult with your veterinarian before changing your older dog’s food.
How many calories should my older dog eat?
Since older dogs tend to be less active and have a slower metabolism, your pet may gain a little weight as he gets older. 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 Should My Senior Dog Eat?
Protein is important for older dogs. Even with exercise, older dogs tend to lose muscle mass, which means losses in protein stores. When your dog lost muscle tissue and proteins, this could damage the immune system and reduce the ability to respond to physical trauma and infectious agents.
When you change your senior dog’s food, it is a good idea to introduce it gradually. Add the new food slowly for seven to ten days, increasing the daily portion. Avoid sudden changes, as this can upset your dog’s stomach.
Tips on how to feed your older 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.
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.
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.
Store dry food properly
Store dry food in a clean, dry environment in a sealable container or airtight container.
Feed your older dog in a quiet place
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.
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.
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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