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Feeding Senior Dogs

on December 10, 2020

Is there an alternative to a senior diet for an older dog?

At Vet’s Kitchen™ we’re pet owners we understand joy and love pets bring being part of our ever-changing families.   Like us as dogs inevitably grow older, they change.   Enlisting the help of our Vet Know-how™ team at our in-house, Vet’s Klinic we found out that there’s plenty we can do help our pets live a comfortable and happy old age and adapting diets and lifestyle routines can really make a difference.

 

How old is senior for a dog?

Depending on breed and size, dogs are classed as senior at different ages.  As an average we think of a senior dog being anything over 7-8 years of age. However, smaller breeds tend to live longer so may not be considered senior until they reach about 10 years old whilst giant breeds are classed as senior from about 5-6 years old.

What does a senior dog need?

Health problems are more common in senior dogs and sometimes the first sign of old age become apparent through ill-health.  This can include osteoarthritis, diseases of the organs such as heart, liver or kidney failure and cognitive dysfunction (like dementia in humans).  A senior dog’s dietary and lifestyle needs will change if they suffer from any of these conditions.

What makes a senior diet different?

Quality senior diets are tailored made to help with the most common problems of old age.  When choosing a food or supplement it might be worth looking out for the following:

  • Lower fat and calories – Older dogs tend to gain weight as they slow down and move less consequently; senior food is usually lower in fat and calories to help prevent your older dog from gaining weight.
  • GLUCOSAMINE - Joint supplements are important especially as dogs age, and Vet’s Kitchen™  Active Joints Supplement is a high strength, veterinary formulation, designed specifically to maintain the long-term health of your dog’s joints.
  • antioxidants and omega 3 – Supplements with antioxidants and Omega 3 can support brain ageing.
  • Vitamins A, E and Omega 3 – These vitamins and minerals help dogs maintain healthy skin and coats. Omega 3 is ideal for dogs with itchy or flaky skin, or a dull and lifeless coat.
  • TAURINE – Taurine can help support heart health.

 

Vet Know-how Tip:  It’s not just about added ingredients, diets low in certain minerals for example lower sodium, can beneficial for the heart and kidneys.

Does my dog have to change to a senior diet?

Not necessarily. If your dog is an ideal weight, still highly active and showing no signs of ill-health then there is no reason to change to a senior formulation. If weight gain is their only issue, a change to a light diet may be all that is needed [link to VK Healthy Weight diet]

An alternative to a senior food, even if your dog does have certain conditions is to add supplements to their food. For example, for a dog with osteoarthritis you could add a joint supplement such as Vet’s Kitchen Active Joints. A supplement combined with lifestyle changes such as covering slippery floors, ramps for the car, taking them on shorter walks and anti-inflammatory medication from the vet can make a huge difference to your senior dog’s comfort and quality of life.

However, for certain health conditions a change in diet can be extremely beneficial. For example, for dogs with renal (kidney) failure even a standard senior diet is usually not suitable. For these cases, a therapeutic diet designed specifically for this condition is best and can reduce symptoms and increase your pet’s lifespan much more than a normal pet food.

 At Vet’s Kitchen™ we passionately believe that the health of the nation’s pets can be improved through diet.  Using the expertise of our in-house veterinary practice, Vet’s Klinic™, our pet food is designed to deliver real health benefits to help your dog live a long and healthy life – whatever its age!   Discover the full range of quality, nutritious foods for your senior dog and feel confident that with Vet’s Kitchen™ you can trust that you’re caring from the inside out. 

If you would like more advice on the most suitable diet for your senior dog, please don’t hesitate to contact us 0845 303 8643 or contact@vetskitchen.co.uk

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