Dogs have different ageing profiles based on their adult size and breed. Large breeds, such as Great Danes, are considered seniors when they reach seven years.
Medium-sized breeds, such as spaniels, on the other hand, start ageing at 10 years. Small-breed dogs like terriers become geriatric when they turn 11.
These varying ageing profiles can confuse most pet owners. However, there are signs that indicate your dog is getting on in years. These include:
- Dental issues, including bad breath, swollen gums, and plaque
- Loss or degradation of the senses of seeing, hearing, and smell
- Unexplainable weight loss or gain
- Loss of bladder control
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Changes in behaviour, such as being lethargic and showing less enthusiasm when seeing you
Once your furry friend displays these signs of ageing, you have to pay more attention to him and make sure any health issues he has are treated. This means bringing your pet to the vet for regular check-ups, grooming him properly, modifying his walking routine, and getting an orthopaedic dog bed, if necessary.
Moreover, you have to ensure your senior pet eats correctly since a proper diet can prevent or slow down some ailments and side effects of ageing.
Feeding Your Ageing Dog
If your pet is already in his geriatric stage, follow these tips and best practices for feeding him:
Choose a senior-friendly pet food.
Feeding your dog the right food is important as he enters his senior years. As such, you have to buy high-quality pet food that meets your dog’s needs and supports his health.
Choose a product that is high in protein content. Additionally, check if the dog food contains calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulphate. These are nutrients that help canines maintain joint and bone health.
Senior dogs can also benefit from omega-3 fatty acids since they enhance joint and bone health and boost their immune system.
Lastly, look for a dog food that contains vitamin E since this nutrient also helps support brain and cognitive functioning and health.
It may be challenging to find a product that contains all these nutrients. However, with sufficient research and your vet’s assistance, you can buy one that has all of these.
Your vet can also prescribe a supplement to ensure your pet gets all these nutrients.
Opt for canned or wet food.
If your senior pet is not eating well or has dental issues, you can ensure he stays properly fed by giving him wet food.
Ageing dogs find it easier to chew soft food; as such, this is a better option for them than hard kibbles. Additionally, canned products contain more water than dry ones. Your pet, therefore, will get more fluid in his body whenever he eats.
If you want to add kibbles to your pet’s diet since they contain more nutrients, soak them first in warm water, then mix it with canned food. Your pet will hardly notice the addition and they will have no difficulties eating because his meal is still soft and easy to chew and swallow.
Make your pet’s meals more appetizing.
Due to the degradation of your pet’s senses of smell and taste, he may likely lose his appetite. And when he does, you will have difficulties getting him to eat and the nutrients he needs.
To get your senior dog to eat, make his meals as irresistible as possible.
Consider adding dog food gravy to your pet’s meals. You can also sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top of his food.
Another trick is to heat your pet’s meal a little. By doing so, you release the food’s smell and flavour, which can help whet your dog’s appetite.
Also, vary what you add to your dog’s meal daily or at least three times weekly. This simple step ensures your pet does not get tired of the same flavours and will look forward to his next meals.
Feed your senior dog small meals frequently.
Some older dogs may have difficulties digesting large meals. If you think your pet has this same problem, give your pet smaller options but feed him more often.
This means giving your pet three or more small meals every day.
Keep in mind that there is no fast rule regarding the frequency of feeding your senior dog. If your pet finishes the handful of food you put in his bowl four or five times a day, stick to this routine. However, remember to avoid overfeeding him.
If you do, your dog may pack on extra weight, which can lead to other health problems.
As an extra tip, always remember to fill your pet’s water bowl and put it beside his food bowl so that he will stay hydrated.
Give your pet healthy treats.
Offering a treat or two to your pet after a walk in the park or in place of a small in-between meal is also a great trick that ensures he eats something. However, you have to choose a healthy snack to give your senior dog.
Look for a dog treat that is packed with nutrients. Choose one that contains healthy proteins, such as venison, veal, fish, and liver, which are not only nutritious but can whet your pet’s appetite as well.
Also, some senior dogs can build their appetite if they eat a small treat before their first meal of the day. You can also try this trick if your pet has difficulties eating.
However, avoid going overboard with giving your elderly pet treats. Stick to only one or two pieces and don’t do this several times throughout the day.
Change your dog’s food bowl.
Lastly, look at your dog food bowl and think about when you bought it. If you got it when your pet was still a puppy, you have to replace it now.
Look for a bowl that is senior-friendly. A raised or elevated one reduces the need for your ageing dog to bend, which helps ensure he won’t aggravate his troublesome joints.
An elevated food bowl also makes mealtimes more comfortable and enjoyable for your pet.
You can look for raised bowls on online shops that sell pet foods in Dubai. You may even get this item and other products you need delivered to your home for added convenience.
As your pet is getting on in years, he will need more of your attention and care. Feeding your senior dog properly is one of the best ways you can help your furry friend stay healthy and happy as he goes through this stage in life.