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A Senior Dog Health Management – Rich Diet, Exercise, Vet Checkups & Supplements
As humans, your dog is also aging and it is relatively younger than the age of humans. With age, many health problems arise in your dog, such as deterioration of the skin and coat, loss of muscle mass, digestive problems, obesity, arthritis, dental problems and decreased ability to fight infections. However, large dogs experience age-related changes earlier than smaller, longer-lived dogs. This gives us the clue to estimate when it’s time to give your dog a senior diet food based on his size.
A standard guideline to follow when determining how dogs age based on their size is:
Small breeds or dogs weighing less than 20 pounds – 7 years old.
Medium breeds and dogs weighing 21-50 pounds – 7 years old.
Large breeds and dogs weighing 51-90 pounds – 6 years old.
Giant breeds and dogs weighing 91 pounds or more – 5 years old.
Say no to low protein diets
Normally it is thought that as dogs age they need less protein. It is far behind the reality. Older dogs need as much protein as they used to get. Studies have proven that older dogs need to be helped with an appropriate level of protein, and this does not open the door to the development or progression of kidney failure. It is even crucial to feed senior dogs optimal levels of easily digestible protein to help maintain good muscle mass.
Be sure to provide a low calorie diet
Senior dogs have been recorded to achieve excess body fat despite consuming fewer calories. Due to age, this change in a body is unstoppable and can be triggered due to reduced energy expenditure or a sudden change in metabolism. Whatever the reason, it is essential to follow a low-calorie diet to avoid any possibility of weight gain and obesity-related problems. However, it is important to respect the appropriate protein level to maintain muscle mass.
Talk to your vet about changing your senior dog’s diet
Aging can directly affect a dog’s intestinal functionality. It can hamper gut bacteria, which can cause symptoms of gastrointestinal infections to appear. When selecting a senior dog food diet, make sure it contains FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, which invariably aids in proper digestion, thus avoiding any digestive issues.
Choose foods high in vitamin E and beta-carotene
Antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene help scavenge free radicals that can largely damage body tissues and cause signs of aging. Senior dog diets should contain higher levels of these antioxidant compounds. A good amount of antioxidants is responsible for increasing the effectiveness of immune power in older dogs.
Stick to consistency
Never be inconsistent when it comes to routine geriatric pet care. In addition to a consistent daily routine, timely veterinary examinations should be involved to diagnose the presence or progression of chronic disease. Stressful situations and sudden changes in daily routines should be avoided. If you’re looking to make a drastic change in your older pet’s routine, remember to put it on a gradual scale.
In a nutshell, older dogs go through a variety of physiological changes as well as psychological changes. To cope with these changes, it is advisable to follow the correct diet recommended for senior dogs. Two things to consider – their weight and their agility. Your senior dogs not only need proper nutrition and optimal weight, but also regular health checks at a veterinary practice. Not limited to this, the care should be prolonged by adding the nutritional supplements to help their physical health. Well, by taking care of your older dog, you can help him through his golden years happily.
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