4 reasons why you should put your senior dog on a senior diet
Unfortunately there are some harsh realities about dealing with an older dog, but they are your family and ideally you want them to be around and healthy for many, many years to come. A good diet and the right treats can help manage the downsides of ageing to ensure that your gorgeous dog goes through their twilight years comfortable and happy.
1. They’re slowing down
Like humans, dogs start to slow down in their old age. In addition to the usual aches and pains with no real source, dogs actually do get arthritis, which is an inflammation of the joints. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which has been linked with a reduction in inflammation and, when coupled with omega 6 and omega 9, can help keep your old man moving around a little easier in his advanced years as well as keeping his coat shinier, his heart healthier. It can even lower the risk of certain cancers.
Slowing down also means they aren’t burning as many calories as they did when they went mad running in circles around the park, and most of your run-of-the-mill dog foods are produced with those kind of crazy bursts of energy in mind. That means your senior dog might start packing on a bit of extra weight, which isn’t healthy for their heart and certainly isn’t going to help those aching joints. One of the benefits of a grain-free diet (including grain-free treats) is that they’re getting lean meat without all the sugary, calorie-packed grain and rice included as filler in most foods.
2. They’re getting pickier
As dogs age, their sense of smell can dull, which in turn dulls their sense of taste. Traditional dog food and treats for younger, fitter dogs now taste more like additives and grain than the actual meat your dog is looking for in their meals! Opting for grain-free foods and treats means you’re getting more meat in every bite and your old man is going to thank you for that by wolfing his food down like he did when he was a puppy.
In addition to their taste changing, your older dog is likely starting to have a more easily upset stomach. As with elderly humans, foods which are harder to digest (like grains and other filler materials used in dog food) start to cause digestive problems leading to wind, loose stools, and a general unwell feeling. Opting for foods with higher meat content will help your oldie by ensuring that their food is easier to digest while still containing all the right vitamins and essential fatty acids.
3. They’re more prone to injuries
Older dogs are much more likely to injure themselves when playing or running compared to their younger selves, which means that they require special vitamins and nutrients tailored to their unique needs. Ensuring that vitamins like Vitamin E are included in their food and treats will help your older dog keep their muscle mass, which means stronger dogs and fewer pulled or torn muscles when your oldie gets the zoomies out of the blue.
If they’re not on a senior food, then the extra weight which can come from eating average dog food can also slow recovery and increase the likelihood of injuries which become chronic and painful rather than returning to normal.
They’re also prone to getting sick
Immunity slows down and fades as we age, and the same is true in our canine friends. Stomach bugs, kennel cough, and even certain cancers become much more likely as they age, but an appropriate diet can help to slow these old age issues!
Vitamin E is great for muscles, but it’s also fantastic for boosting immunity in older animals, particularly in the winter when skin can be drier and illnesses can be easier to catch. Omega 6 fatty acids also assist with immune function by increasing cell membrane structure, cell function, and skin/coat health. Ensuring that they are a healthy weight and on the right diet can make all the difference. Fatty acids have been shown to help slow mental decline, and they reduce the number of free radicals in the body which has been shown to reduce instances of certain cancers.