Unlike giant and large-size dogs that are considered seniors at 5 and 6 years old, respectfully, a small and medium-size dog usually doesn't experience age-related changes that early. But by the age of 7 years old, however, your mid-size dog is thought of as a senior pet. Its nutritional requirements are also changing. You can help keep your dog active, happy and healthy with a diet that delivers highly digestible, enhanced nutrition.
Recognizing the Signs of Aging
The changes your dog is experiencing right now affect it in many ways. You may notice that your dog could have a dull, dry coat and flaky skin, declining activity or weight gain, decreased immune system response, more frequent intestinal problems, joint stiffness and a loss of lean muscle mass. Experts believe that senior dogs may require fewer calories, but to address special mature concerns, your pooch still needs high-quality protein and carefully balanced nutrients.
What to Look for in a Senior Dog's Diet
Your dog needs a quality, balanced food formulated for its changing metabolism. Look for options with these age-essential dietary components:
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, a shining coat and overall health
- Antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, to help boost the immune system
- Quality, animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle mass
- A special fiber source, such as beet pulp, to help maintain intestinal health and to enhance your dog's ability to absorb age-essential nutrients
- Special carbohydrate blends of healthy grains for sustained energy
These components are key to an aging dog's nutrition whether you choose dry or canned dog food. They also will help you to select healthier, age-appropriate treats.
Meeting Special Needs
Older, less active dogs are prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog's weight can help to protect against health effects, such as diabetes or joint stress. Your dog will benefit from a senior diet that has weight-controlling characteristics:
- A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
- L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
- Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health.
With a minimum investment of time and effort, you may increase the chances that your aging companion will likely be at your side for many more years to come.