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The Best Dog Food for Your Senior Dog

As your dog gets older, their diet starts to play a much bigger role in their overall health. Our Southgate vets address the best types of food that can help keep your senior dog happy and healthy.

At What Age Are Dogs Considered Elderly Or Geriatric?

We are unable to provide a one-size-fits-all answer to this question because each dog is unique. A dog's expected lifespan varies depending on breed and size. Small dogs typically live between 15 and 20 years, while larger dogs live between 12 and 15 years. 

Smaller dogs typically enter middle age around the age of 8, whereas larger dogs age more quickly and are considered "older" around the age of six.

Does my senior dog have specific nutritional requirements?

When looking for the best dog food for senior dogs, we recommend that you consider two main criteria. 

First, make sure it is low in calories. A dog's metabolism, like that of a human, slows as they age, which is why it's critical to keep our furry best friends from overeating in order to avoid obesity.

Second, include high-fiber options in their diet. Constipation is a fairly common problem in aging dogs, and it can lead to other gastrointestinal issues if severe enough. Additionally, it can be painful.

Keeping your older dog's gastrointestinal system healthy should be high priority, so the best dog food for older dogs will contain lots of fiber to keep them regular. 

What should I do if my senior dog won't eat?

Occasionally, we see older dogs who have lost some of their appetite. Causes of sudden loss of appetite vary greatly in scope and severity; your dog could be suffering from simple nausea caused by gastrointestinal issues, or they could be suffering from the effects of cancer. 

If your senior dog has suddenly developed an unexplained loss of appetite, consult your veterinarian to rule out any potentially serious causes, such as kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, or dental disease. 

Once serious medical conditions have been ruled out as the cause of appetite loss, consider the most basic possibility: your dog is simply tired of their regular food.

Adding chicken broth, water, or a small amount of canned food to your dog's dry kibble can help to make it more appealing. You could also try making a simple meal for your dog with cooked chicken and barley or lamb and rice. These home-cooked meals are both nutritious and bland enough to sit well with them if your senior dog is experiencing some nausea..

Which health issues can the best dog food for senior dogs help prevent?

Is your senior dog suffering from health issues like kidney failure, diabetes, or liver disease? He or she will most likely require a specialized diet to help manage the condition. If your dog is ill and you are concerned about the potential effects of their diet, you should consult with your veterinarian.

Best Dog Food for Older Dogs

Our team at Southgate Animal Hospital has put together a list of some of the best types of dog foods for senior dogs. Ask your vet which senior dog food is best for your pet. 

Prescription Dog Food

Depending on your dog's unique circumstances and health conditions, a medical prescription dog food may be the best option for your senior dog. In other cases, your veterinarian may simply recommend that you switch to a healthier option.

Low-Calorie Dog Food

Low-calorie senior dog food can benefit dogs that are at a higher risk for heart disease (or who have already been diagnosed with it), as it will help keep their weight down. Low-sodium recipes are preferred. 

High-Fiber, Low-Fat Dog Food

Our Southgate veterinarians recommend that owners of pre-diabetic or diabetic dogs prioritize slow food absorption. Blood sugar rises more slowly on special diabetic diets, lowering the risk of health complications. These diets are also very high in fiber and low in fat.

As previously stated, older dogs frequently experience constipation, so the more fiber they consume, the better. This will help to avoid constipation and keep their bowels functioning properly.

Dog Food High in Protein

Many senior dog foods will also contain higher quality protein sources than standard dog food, which can help senior dogs maintain a healthy body weight while reducing strain on their aging kidneys.

Limited Ingredient Dog Foods

If your senior dog has allergies, your veterinarian may recommend limited ingredient dog foods, which contain only one protein source (such as chicken, beef, or lamb) and are frequently combined with one carbohydrate source. 

This can help to eliminate allergens that may be causing allergic reactions or symptoms. When looking for limited ingredient dog foods, look for the AAFCO seal of approval, as well as the manufacturer's "complete and balanced" claim. 

Your vet will be able to provide dietary recommendations for your senior or diabetic dog, along with comprehensive geriatric care and exams.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you need some guidance choosing the best food for your senior dog? Contact our Southgate vets to book an appointment today and we can discuss their options. 

New Patients Welcome

Southgate Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Southgate companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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