As much as we want our furry best friends to live forever, aging is a normal part of life. As they get older, the sad part is that you’ll notice them getting more vulnerable to various illnesses. For instance, senior dogs are more prone to getting heart disease, kidney problems, and cancer.
In your own way, you can combat this by ensuring your pet receives proper nutrition. As older dogs, they now have specific needs that you have to ensure you follow. Here are some things you can do for your dog’s end-of-life nutrition.
At What Age Should You Consider Your Dog a Senior?
It’s never too late to give your older dog the best nutrition to live a long and healthy life. But once your dog gets older than 5 years old for big breeds and 8 years old for smaller breeds, you need to pay more attention to their diet. Feeding your older dog with a diet that will provide them with the nutrients they need becomes a priority.
At this point, you will notice physical and behavioral changes in your pet, like gaining weight. Because of this, it is crucial that your pet has a vet consultation.
What Should a Dog’s End-Of-Life Nutrient Profile Look Like?
Because your dog is getting older, you should consult your vet about giving your dog a senior diet. This means that you need to know what a “senior” diet looks like. You can find dog foods that are labeled as “senior.” You can also consult with your vet to know how to create your own dog diet so that it provides your pet with the nutritional support they need.
What Do You Need to Transition to Senior Dog Nutrition?
1 – Ensuring Proper Hydration
Most senior dogs are likely to get dehydrated, so it’s important to make sure that your pet is getting enough water. If the older dog is suffering from kidney disease or another urinary tract disorder, you will need to be more careful of their water intake.
To keep your dog hydrated, make sure they have easy access to a container of water. You can also add ice cubes to your dog’s water bowl to encourage them to drink.
2 – Finding the Balance between Protein, Fat, Sodium, and Phosphorous
Your dog needs proper amounts of proteins and fats in their diet. Remember, their daily energy requirement decreases as they age, so their food intake must decrease, too.
Too much protein and fats are going to make their inflammatory process worsen, thus leading to more serious health problems. It may also lead to kidney disease. Too much sodium and phosphorus will also make your dog’s bones more brittle. This can lead to joint issues, muscle pain, poorer mobility, and heart problems.
3 – Counting Calorie Intake
As your dog ages, you should watch its calorie intake. Excess calories could make your dog gain weight, which will only cause joint problems.
If your dog is overweight, try to reduce their calorie intake by giving them smaller portions, or leaving their food bowl a little empty when you give them their dish.
4 – Giving Treats Moderately
Treats should be given sparingly to older dogs. Too many treats may make your dog gain weight. And if your dog is overweight, consider giving them fewer treats or healthier treats like applesauce bites or freeze-dried pumpkin.
Your dog is going to have a hard time coping with certain changes in its body as they age. If you’re looking for ways to improve their quality of life, consider giving them the proper nutrition. You have to give them the best end-of-life nutrition to keep them happy and healthy for as long as possible.
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