Your dog is getting older. And just like with people, their eating habits will change, too. Gone are the days when your dog would eat absolutely everything in sight, often with more enthusiasm than you thought possible. Gone are the days when after making the mistake of leaving any tasty morsel of food in your dog’s line of sight it disappeared as if by magic. However, just because your dog has gotten older doesn’t mean they don’t still love a delicious meal. The key however is to put more focus on healthy options as your dog’s years start advancing.
When it comes to dog aging, larger breeds age faster than smaller breeds. Generally speaking, larger dogs live to about 12 to 15 years, so they are considered older by the time they reach 6 to 7 years of age, while small dogs live to about 15 to 20 years, so they are considered older at anywhere between age 7 and 9.
Once your dog is considered older, their energy requirement gets lower. That means their diet should consist of lower-calorie options to reduce risk of obesity. Many dog food brands offer senior specific food options, while others offer “multi-stage” options, which are suitable for dogs of all ages. Regardless of which food you choose however, the key is a low-calorie option that focuses on high nutritional value, for example, WellyChef Homemade Dog Food Done Right Base Mix.
In addition to a great tasting meal, your older dog, despite its advancing age, still loves a tasty snack! But, just like their meals, your dog’s snacks should lean more toward the healthier side. For example, focus on low-fat, low-sodium treats. A great option is fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly apple slices and carrots, which most dogs love. Avoid grapes and raisins though, those can be harmful to dogs.
When it comes to your aging dog’s drinking habits, they too will change with age. As your dog gets older, their ability to maintain water balance decreases. As a result, your dog will require plenty of water, so keeping them hydrated is very important.
Sadly, with age comes health issues. But fear not because even if your dog is suffering from a condition common to old age, like diabetes, liver disease, kidney issues and heart disease, there are plenty of nutritious food options for them. It is important however to consult your veterinarian when it comes to planning a diet for a dog with the health issues mentioned above.
Just because your dog is getting older doesn’t mean they can’t still enjoy great food. You just have to be mindful about what you give them, with plenty of attention paid to the nutritional value of every meal and snack, along with proper hydration. In the end, the better you feed your aging dog, the more likely they will remain healthy and the longer they will be by your side, staring at that last piece of chicken resting on your plate, thinking back to the days when they would swipe it before you had a chance to react. And who knows, maybe when you aren't looking, they might just turn back the clock on you.