Senior Dogs

Senior Dogs

As a dog reaches 7 years old, they are now in the senior years of dog life. These years mean changes in metabolism, muscle tone, joints, eye sight and hearing, as well as the skin and coat.  Many of you are familiar with some of these issues.  I would like to explain how nutrition and supplements can help prevent these issues in the senior years.

How can diet help? I recommend feeding your senior dog a grain free diet that is lower in protein, higher in fiber and has less Kcals per cup.  Grain free means less grain to wick away moisture from the digestive tract, kidneys and less empty calories.  There are some that target the senior dog, but using common sense and reading labels can be just as good.  All grain free foods are not the same.  Many claim to be grain free yet are full of starch which turns into sugar just as grain can to feed yeast on the skin.  It also becomes an empty calorie since protein from anything other than meat is not a soluble protein for a dog.

The senior dog needs less protein because they do not have the same muscle building ability that they had. This means the kidneys will work harder to filter the protein not used by the body.  Keeping your protein under 32% will keep things more in balance for seniors.  Higher fiber plays an important role in keeping the bowels consistent and keeping down over production of the anal glands.  For the senior dog that is less active, rather in “retirement”, a food with protein levels of 25% or so should be a perfect match. Keeping the Kcal per cup down, helps keep excessive weight off of the senior, less active dog.

Adding glucosamine and chondroitin to your dog’s diet will help ensure the mobility of the joints. I recommend feeding this from puppy to senior.  It helps play an important part in the building and strength of the joint as well as maintaining the over used joints.  Senior dog foods do not have an adequate amount nor are they absorbed well.  You will see a much better success rate using a high-quality supplement that is well absorbed and not relying on a baked into the kibble supplement to do the job. We recommend a natural, granulated supplement verses a pill or capsule form also. This allows the supplement to be absorbed immediately and not wasted.  Anything synthetically altered does not absorb well. 

Omega 3, 6, and 9 are important for the joints, eyes, skin and coat. Organic Coconut Oil or pure liquid salmon oil are two of the best sources for this. It helps to put back in to the skin what the outdoors, and indoor heaters can take out.  Dry skin allows bacteria to invade the skin causing infection.  Dry coat becomes brittle and sparse.  Both lead to an itchy dog. There are no products that can completely repair dry skin and coat from the outside. This has to be done from the inside out.  Using non detergent shampoo and a silk protein conditioner can help maintain the healthy skin and coat that the omegas have made.

Well balanced nutrition that targets the senior’s issues can prolong the senior years. Starting your dog on a granulated joint supplement as a puppy can build healthier joints.  Adding a granulated joint supplement to the senior dog’s diet can help maintain healthy joints and alleviated pain from those already feeling the golden years.

Stop by for free nutritional counseling and let us show you some natural alternatives that can help your senior dogs live happy and healthy in their golden years!