How to choose the best senior dog food (and treats) for your dog

How to choose the best senior dog food (and treats) for your dog
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At Skinny & Co., we love pets of all breeds, sizes, and ages. Senior pets, however, hold a special place in our hearts, especially given the special care they often require. In today’s blog, we’ll address a common question many dog parents face: what is the best dog food for senior dogs?

When is a dog a senior?

In order to properly care for your dog, it’s important to understand where he or she is at in terms of life stages. So, remember most dogs are considered seniors between the ages of five and ten. Smaller dogs tend to have longer life expectancies, however, and may not be considered seniors into later in their lives than larger dogs. Your veterinarian is also a helpful resource for identifying where your dog is in his or her lifespan.

Do senior dogs have unique nutritional needs?

Now that you know when your dog is considered a senior, it’s also important to understand the different needs senior dogs might have nutritionally. For example, senior dogs often need lower calorie diets to prevent obesity, a common health problem many face. (The older your dog is, the slower his or her metabolic rate likely is, making weight gain more likely.) Others may need higher fiber diets to improve gastrointestinal health.

You should also keep any health conditions or diseases in mind when choosing food for your senior dogs, as these are unfortunately common and can result in specific dietary restrictions or needs. Diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease, and heart disease are some of the conditions that may require special veterinary diets to assist in treating the conditions.

What is multi-stage dog food?

To address the nutritional needs your dog has at any stage in his or her life, you should feed an age-appropriate diet to your dog. Though there are multi-stage food formulations available, that does not necessarily make them the best options for your dog.

Multi-stage dog food has been formulated to be acceptable for puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs. In creating a food acceptable for dogs across multiple life stages, compromises often have to be made so that the food is best for the most dogs possible.

Senior dogs will fare better if fed foods designed specifically for them, as they are typically lower in calories, high in fiber, and made using higher quality protein than standard foods..

What dog treats can senior dogs have?

Some of the best things you can feed your senior dogs for snacks tend to be natural and are often what are used to create their actual dog food. You might consider giving your dog fruits or vegetables such as carrots, green beans, or apple slices. (When choosing a fruit to give your dog, be sure to steer clear of grapes and raisins, as they are harmful to dogs.)

You might also consider giving your dog homemade coconut oil treats (or coconut oil by itself), as coconut oil can provide your senior dog arthritis relief and cognitive benefits.  

Final thoughts

To ensure your senior dog is receiving the best care possible for his or her individual health and to understand the best senior dog food for your dog, make sure to schedule regular and routine visits with your veterinarian. If your dog does not respond well to the food you’ve chosen, discontinue use and discuss the situation with your veterinarian.

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