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Caring for your Senior Dog (Part 1 -nutrition)

One of the hardest parts of being a dog owner is the proverbial “senior” age range. As we know, a dog’s age and a dog’s senior status are not always closely aligned. A small dog becomes a senior dog later in life than a large dog. Nevertheless, a senior dog (somewhere between 7 and 10 years old) requires a different kind of diet than her younger version.

Picking the right food

Large pet companies caught onto the senior trend years ago. By reformulating their mixture of grains and meats, most large companies provide breed-specific and/or size-specific senior food for your old man or lady. Just like humans, older dogs are more prone to obesity, so keeping the calories low is very important as obesity causes death more quickly among older dogs than younger dogs.  

Focus on the teeth

While it’s not very obvious, senior dogs dental health is more important than ever. Food and treats can get stuck in wiggly teeth more easily, and dogs that lose their teeth in old age tend to require softer food. If your dog is having a hard time eating or you’re noticing other health issues related to food, head to the vet and get a thorough dental exam. Chances are that your old pup’s teeth aren’t what they used to be and you’ll have to adjust how you feed to make it easier for your dog.

Add supplements

Again, similar to us, dogs require more supplements as they advance in age due to lack of ability to retain nutrients. So, your old lady could use Omega-3, joint, calcium, probiotics, and antioxidants to help her age well with limited complications. If you notice joint issues, constipation, or ease of sickness, consider consulting with your vet and choosing supplements that make sense for your dog’s breed, weight, and age.