Just like us, our dogs, with the passing of the years, undergo changes that we must consider in order to offer them a better quality of life and to enjoy them to the fullest.
A “senior” dog is considered, in general, the one who is over 8 years old. However, the bigger / giant dogs are precocious in their aging process, so after 5 years they may already have senior’s needs; and small dogs are slower, this can be considered senior from 10 years old.
This rule, depending on race and size, is not always accurate, since factors such as genetics, nutrition and environment are determining factors in accelerating or delaying the aging process.
Since nutrition plays a key role in this stage, here are our tips:
- Search for specific recipes for their age and needs: These dogs may not be as effective at obtaining nutrients from their food, and you must help them make good use of what they eat and not overload their kidneys or their liver. Remember the need to offer balanced meals, which provide essential nutrients and non-essential nutrients in sufficient and useful quantities for their body (in our recipes, we contemplate non-essential nutrients because, in optimal situations, we can manufacture them in our own body; but these dogs are less capable of it, and to help them in the process is key).
- Bear in mind the following questions: Is the dog overweight? Any pathologies? It is hard for them to move or jump? Do they have a lack of appetite? Have they lost muscle mass? Their hair is not shiny? Does their mouth bleed, smell or have any teeth fallen out? If that is the case, consult with a nutrition specialist to assess the best diet.
- Encourage the habit of drinking: Water is essential in all stages; but now, more than ever, you must encourage them to drink (try fountains, high-quality wet food, colder water in the summer). Remember that water must be fresh every day and, if possible, better served in a metal or ceramic container (not plastic).
- Look for foods that watch the quality and quantity of protein: Older dogs can lose proteins through their urine. Also, their ability to assimilate nutrients is diminished, therefore, it is very important to offer recipes that contain sufficient levels of protein, but above all, to offer an easily digested protein, incorporated and available where it is needed (if you are interested in going into detail about the importance of protein, we advise you to read about biological value, digestibility and bioavailability).
A good way to know if your dog is taking enough protein (and that it is effectively nourishing) is to check their body condition by palpating their musculature. If you think they have lost muscle mass, consult your veterinarian.
- Do they lack appetite? Try to motivate them:
- With interactive toys to get food.
- With very palatable balanced foods (see our wet and semi-dry recipes to get ideas).
- Distributing the recommended daily amount in more doses.
If you want to be prepared for the possible changes that may take place during these years, and be familiar with some advice regarding their caretaking, look what we have collected for you.