Just like humans, our beloved mutts' bodies and dietary demands change as they age. Their metabolism, activity level, and ability to fight off infections usually decrease. While some of these cannot be avoided, there are still certain body changes that you can manage with a good healthy, senior diet.
When is my dog considered a senior dog?
While size and breed are determining factors of how well your dog ages, below are rough age ranges for your mutt to be considered a senior dog:
- Small and medium dogs less than 50 pounds: 7 years old
- Large dogs up to 90 pounds: 6 years old
- Giant dogs over 90 pounds: 5 years old
Not all senior dog foods are good replacements. Unless recommended otherwise by your trusted vet, you would want to switch your mutt's current diet to a senior diet that has the same amount of (or sufficient) protein and fiber with less calories and fat. The protein will help maintain your mutt's muscles, and the fiber will help with regulating its digestive system and keeping your mutt feeling full. Because of the decrease in metabolism and activity level, less calories and fat equals lower chance of gaining weight which helps prevent other unwanted diseases.
What should I do if my dog doesn't seem to be hungry?
While eating less could be a good way to maintain your mutt's weight, too much weight loss could also be unhealthy. A couple of ways to help increase your dog's caloric intake is (1) mixing some soft canned food to the dog pebbles or (2) adding a little bit of water to the dry food to help soften the pebbles for better chewing.
What other things can I do as a pet owner to help my dog's aging process?
There are many things a dog owner can help ease the aging process for their mutts. The most helpful one is taking your dog into the vet for its regular check ups. Talk to your vet about any suspicious behavioral changes, dietary needs like extra vitamins or supplements, and any other things you can do to help prevent diseases that may be arise.
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!