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A Senior Dog Health Management – Rich Diet, Exercise, Vet Checkups & Supplements
Like humans, your dog also ages relatively earlier than humans. As your dog ages, many health problems appear, including deteriorating skin and coat, loss of muscle mass, digestive problems, obesity, arthritis, dental problems and a decreased ability to fight infection. However, large dogs experience age-related changes earlier compared to smaller dogs who live longer. This gives us the clue to estimate when it is time to feed your canine a senior diet food based on size.
A standard guideline to follow to determine how dogs age based on their size is:
Small breeds or dogs weighing less than 20 pounds – 7 years of age.
Medium breeds and dogs weighing 21 to 50 pounds – 7 years of age.
Large breeds and dogs weighing 51 to 90 pounds – 6 years of age.
Giant breeds and dogs weighing 91 pounds or more – 5 years of age.
Say no to diets that are low in protein
It is generally believed that as dogs age, they need less protein. This is far behind the actual fact. Older dogs need as much protein as they were getting previously. Studies have shown that older dogs should be provided with an adequate level of protein, and this does not open the door to the development or progression of kidney failure. It is even crucial to feed older dogs optimal levels of easily digestible protein to help retain good muscle mass.
Be sure to provide a low-calorie diet
Older dogs have been recorded to gain extra body fat despite consuming fewer calories. Due to age, this change in a body is unstoppable and can be triggered due to reduced energy expenditure or a sudden change in metabolism. Whatever the reason, it is essential to eat a low-calorie diet to avoid any possibility of weight gain and the problems arising from obesity. However, getting the right level of protein is important to help retain muscle mass.
Talk to your vet about changing your senior dog’s diet
Aging can directly affect a dog’s intestinal functionality. It can hinder the intestinal bacteria, which can cause the symptoms of gastrointestinal infections. When selecting a diet for senior dogs, make sure it contains FOS (fructooligosaccharides) which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, this invariably helps with proper digestion, preventing any digestive problems.
Choose foods with a high ratio of vitamin E and beta-carotene
Antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene help eliminate free radicals that can greatly damage body tissues and can cause signs of aging. Senior dog diets should contain higher levels of these antioxidant compounds. A good amount of antioxidants is responsible for increasing the effectiveness of the immune power in older dogs.
Go for consistency
Don’t be inconsistent when it comes to routine care for geriatric pets. Along with the consistent daily routine, timely veterinary examinations should be involved to diagnose the presence or progress of a chronic disease. Stressful situations and sudden changes in daily routines should be avoided. If you’re looking to make a drastic change in your senior pet’s routine, remember to do it gradually.
Simply put, older dogs go through a variety of physiological changes along with psychological changes. To cope with these changes, it is advisable to follow the appropriate diet that is recommended for older dogs. Two things to consider: its weight and agility. Your senior dogs not only need a proper diet and optimal weight, but also regular health checks at the vet’s office. Not limited to this, the care should be extended by adding nutritional supplements to help your physical health. Well, by taking proper care of your senior dog, you can help him spend his golden years happily.
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