Providing the best supplements for aging dogs and nourishing with the best dog food to address the onset of health problems are the best things we can do for our dog.
We’ve been doing some digging to come up with answers to these faq’s.
It might seem obvious that the needs of a puppy and a senior dog are very different – but it’s not always second nature to know exactly what your dog needs.
Every dog is different
Before we dive into the details, it’s important to remember that different breeds have different needs. But also that what may work for one dog might not be the best practice for another – regardless of whether they’re the same breed or not.
The best dog food for older dogs
The RSPCA highlights the fact that “many older dogs have chronic health issues that can be affected or improved by the diet you feed” and they recommend giving your senior dog “frequent smaller meals.”
As your dog ages, their metabolism will slow and the amount of daily activity will decrease. Naturally this combination can make them more susceptible to weight gain. So, as their routine changes, so should their diet.
A balanced diet with the right nutrients for your ageing pal is essential. Every dog is different and may require different key ingredients within their diet. For instance, some dogs may require more fibre than others. The right food for your dog should be assessed by looking at their individual health or dietary needs, breed, age and size.
What Types of Food Are Best For Senior Dogs?
A variety of foods, such as dry, wet and fresh is considered the optimal diet for a dog. Different dog food brands offer special ranges for senior dogs. The choices are generally based on size, breed and nutrient level. We recommend that you check with your vet if your dog has specific needs.
This is a list of some of the highly-rated senior dog food lines to look out for. Each of these foods target a specific need.
- Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind: designed for dogs over 7 years and helps with awareness and memory
- Purina Supercoat Senior: contains Omega 3 to help joint issues
- Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Senior Dog Food: designed for weight control and healthy joints
- Canidae Grain-Free Pure Senior Formula: good for dogs with food sensitivities
- Orijen Senior Dog Food: great source of protein and grain-free
Should you consider supplements for your senior dog?
The best way for your dog to get nutrients is through their diet, although sometimes this may not be enough. If you’ve established a nutritionally balanced diet for your dog but are noticing signs of ageing or less movement it might be time to consider supplements.
There’s a wide range of vitamin and supplement options on the market. But many have questionable reviews and intentions. It’s best to consult your vet before trying vitamins or supplements for your senior dog.
The best supplements for older dogs
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Supplements to help with arthritis and joint pain. These compounds are naturally occurring in the body and support healthy cartilage It’s recommended that glucosamine and chondroitin are taken alongside essential fatty acids to have the best pain relief and anti-inflammatory results. Both glucosamine and chondroitin can be found in senior dog foods blends, such as Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind and Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Senior Dog Food. Look for these ingredients if you’re after the best hip supplements for dogs.
- Omega 3 and 6 – Essential Fatty Acids
The essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and 6, have anti-inflammatory benefits and help preserve your dog’s skin and coat. It’s thought that they assist brain functioning and awareness whilst also boosting their immune system. Senior dog food ranges which are high in Omega 3 include Purina Supercoat Senior and Canidae Grain-Free Pure Senior Formula.
- Prebiotics + Probiotics
These gems can aid your dog’s digestion and relieve stomach issues. Another key benefit of prebiotics and probiotics is that they restore the gut with good bacteria that can be lacking in older dogs due to age or medication. The use of prebiotics and probiotics can also help protect your dog against illness and infection.
When is my dog considered senior?
To make matters confusing there’s no set age for when your dog is considered senior. The average age is around 7 years but in reality the age at which your dog is considered senior depends on a number of factors.
Different breeds age at different speeds. The general rule of thumb is that larger dog breeds age more rapidly than smaller dog breeds. To check the specific age timeline for your dog it’s important to consult your vet as other factors are taken into consideration when judging whether a dog is considered senior or not.
Your dog’s medical history needs to be considered when assessing the age of your dog. Like humans, genetics and environment can play a big role in a dog’s ageing process. Taking into consideration their health status and history important.
Another important factor for determining the seniority of your dog. You can do this by evaluating aspects of their lifestyle such as the amount of exercise/activity, diet, nutrition and nature.
Senior dogs need different types of care, diet and nutrients but the advice is not one size fits all; every breed and individual dog is different. Monitor your dog’s progress and alter their diet and lifestyle accordingly as they age. Don’t forget to consult your vet before making any changes and if you have any concerns about your dog’s routine.