Senior dogs and the right food 

We love our dogs very much and of course want to offer them everything for a beautiful, long dog life. As their specific needs change over the years, we as dog owners have a responsibility to constantly develop our knowledge as well. 

Basically, we distinguish between puppies, adult dogs and senior citizens. What all these three life stages have in common is the need for high quality food. This supports the health of the animal in the best possible way in the respective phase. Perhaps you remember the transition from puppy food to the adult line? In this article we want to introduce you to senior food. 

Why does an older dog need special senior food?

Senior dogs have different needs than growing puppies or dogs in the middle stage of life. A senior furry nose has already experienced a lot, sometimes maybe developed a specific health problem. Both metabolism and cell regeneration are slower in older animals. Both have the effect of reducing muscle mass, which was previously responsible for a large part of the energy consumption. This means that fat deposits build up easily and older dogs tend to become overweight. Of course, one cannot make sweeping generalisations. Some animals maintain their weight, others even lose weight. Mostly, however, there is a tendency to become overweight. To avoid unnecessary stress on the joints and organs, it is therefore necessary to switch to a food that meets the dog's new energy requirements. At DOG'S LOVE, we have our wet food Senior Turkey & Light, with reduced fat content and fresh vegetables and fruit, for seniors who need support with weight management. 

The idea that a simple reduction of the previous feed also reduces the energy intake is misleading, as it would also lead to a reduction of the valuable and necessary minerals and vitamins. That's why choosing the right senior food for your pet is very important. 

The unique composition of senior food

One of the muscles whose performance decreases as our dogs age is the intestine. At the same time, the work of this muscular tube is essential for the immune system. So it is now especially important that the proteins in the feed are of high quality and easily digestible. In addition, there is an increased need for vitamins and minerals, as these can no longer be absorbed by the body as naturally as they were in younger years. 

To keep the bowels functioning, the right amount of dietary fibre is essential. Raw fibres, which are excreted undigested, provide an internal massage of the organs and keep the digestive system fit. Quality senior food has all these characteristics.

When does a dog become a senior?

When a dog becomes a senior is very individual. It is both breed and size dependent. In general, large dogs age faster than small ones, for example a German Shepherd faster than a Chihuahua. In addition, the history of the four-legged friend, how much exercise they have done over the years, whether the previous food was high of quality and how extensive their medical history is. 

There are some signs you can use to recognise that your pet has moved into senior status. It is important to remember that ageing is a process. If any of these changes occur from one day to the next, please seek veterinary advice. 

Possible signs that your dog is a senior:

  • grey fur in the facial region
  • decreased desire to move
  • trouble with moves that worked before, for example climbing steps.
  • less desire to play
  • slower reaction time as the senses diminish
  • quickly gain excess weight
  • prefers warmth and is no longer so resistant to cold
  • the coat no longer looks as shiny
  • the eyes appear duller
  • loose teeth with discolouration and bad breath 
  • suddenly suffers from bladder weakness 

If you are not sure whether your pet already has senior needs, an age screening or blood work at your trusted vet can help.

What is the best amount to feed my senior dog?

The amount your animal needs is as individual as the animal itself. DOG'S LOVE product packaging includes a table with a feeding recommendation that has been prepared together with veterinarians. Watch your pet closely and adjust the amount as required. Some dogs only want to eat once a day as they get older. Respect this wish and provide a quality meal.

And last but not least: Nothing is as important as fluid intake! Some dogs "forget" to drink as they get older or become too comfortable to go to the drinking bowl. If you serve dry food, it is recommended to always soak it in water. Place extra water bowls and make sure they always offer fresh water.