Q: What should I feed my older dog?

June 27, 2010 | By Mary T. | 2 answers | Expired: 2041 days ago

Mary T.

Aside from the Early Bird Special and Senior Discount Unlimited Buffet, what should an elderly dog eat?

Chosen Answer

You’re kidding about all-you-can-eat buffets, right? Obesity is not healthy at any age. But, yes, there are special nutritional requirements for feeding an aging dog.

First, let’s define geriatric life stage for dogs by size. Typically, a large dog of eight years is getting up there in years — but still can have a lot of quality living ahead. For medium dogs, the magic number is around age 10. And for small dogs, it is age 12 and older. Another definition of “old” is when a dog has reached 75 to 80 percent of its expected lifespan.

Now let’s keep Senior Dog as healthy as possible for that golden 25 percent of his time with us. To diminish cellular aging, Senior Dog’s food (or supplements) should offer antioxidants. We want to keep his skin and coat healthy with essential fatty acids. Those same essential fatty acids also help with arthritis, as might glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, especially when combined with avocado or MSM (methylsulfonylmethane).

Vitamins E, C, and B6 are said to increase dogs’ resistance to infection by strengthening the immune system. The same vitamins might reduce the likelihood of tumors, cataracts, and degenerative diseases.

Look for such ingredients in senior formula dog food products and supplements. (Be careful to not overdo the supplements and instead look to your veterinarian for advice on what’s best for your aging dog.

No doggie bags from your Early Bird Special, either.

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Readers' Answers (1)

Jul 11, 2010

Start off with a good quality diet, this is a good site which helsp to evaluate various brands of kibble/canned.

Senior foods are mostly a gimmick, they have minimal ammounts of joint support(chondroitin/glucosamine), not enough to make difference in dogs with arthritis, they are generally lower in fat, which sounds like a good thing, but you have to remember that in order to remove fat, they have to remove a good portion of the meat (if theres any to begin with).

So my reccomendation would be to feed moderate protein (at least 28%), low carb food and supplement with joint support like cosequin if the dogs need it, this will also help with getting the dog to be more active, you can try low impact exercise like swimming.
If you can afford it, Wellness core reduced fat is a good option for older pets who have trouble staying in shape. More affordable option is Taste of the wild and it comes in 3 varities which you can rotate to prevent boredom and allergies.

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