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As your dog gets older, their nutritional needs change. They are less active and more prone to illness, so it is important that you feed them a food that meets these new needs. So when your dog starts getting older it is time to start thinking about switching them to a senior dog food.
When To Make The Switch To Senior Dog Food
When to make the switch to a senior dog food depends entirely on the breed of your dog. Dogs’ lifespans vary by breed and more importantly, by size. Smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds so you when you switch you need to keep this in mind. Though there is no definitive standard, a good rule of thumb is for small or toy breeds to start their senior diet between the ages of 10 and 12, for medium breeds start between the ages of 7 and 8, and for large and giant breeds consider switching them between the ages of 5 and 6.
What To Look For In A Senior Dog Food
As dogs get older they are less active, so they require fewer calories from their food. So you want to make sure that the food has a lower kcal count. They also more prone to issues with obesity, so they need a food lower in fat. Furthermore, senior dogs begin to have digestion issues and are prone to constipation, so they need more fiber to keep them regular. So try to find a food with lots of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Finally, senior dogs need a diet that supports their joint health so look for a food with added glucosamine and chondroitin.
What To Avoid In A Senior Dog Food
The most important thing to avoid is a dog food that is too high in protein, fat, and phosphorus because it can be very taxing on your dog’s endocrine system. You also should avoid anything that cause your dog to gain weight like simple carbohydrates, added sugar, and too many calories. These ingredients can also help cause diabetes in older dogs, so make sure the dog food has a low glycemic index. Another ingredient to watch out for is sodium. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Also avoid anything that will be hard for your dog to eat or digest. Kibble that is too bulky or too dry can be very difficult for an older dog to consume.
Top Four Senior Dog Food Brands
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula For Senior Dogs
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula For Senior Dogs is a complete line of natural senior dog foods formulated specifically to meet the health and nutrition needs of senior dogs. Blue Buffalo Life Protection has a complex balance of carbohydrates and proteins to meet the energy needs of your senior dog. The formulas also contain glucosamine and chondroitin to support the joint health and mobility and l-carnitine to improve and maintain muscle mass. Blue Buffalo Life Protection is easily digested and contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It also does not have any fillers or animal by-products which could lead to malnourishment in your dog. Blue Buffalo Life Protection comes in large and small breed, a wilderness line with wild game meats, and limited ingredient and food intolerance varieties for dogs with digestion issues. The diversity of their senior line means you can find a food right for the needs of any older dog.
Fromm Gold Holistic Reduced Activity
Fromm Holistic Reduced Activity is great for both senior and less active dogs. Holistically formulated with ingredients like duck, chicken, lamb, eggs, and cheese balanced with whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and barley, Fromm Gold Holistic Reduced Activity provides just the right level of energy for a less active older dog. Fromm Gold Holistic Reduced Activity also has a very high fiber level of 3.5% so it is excellent for weight management and digestive support. It also contains probiotics to help your dog get the most out of the nutrient value.
Wellness Complete Health Senior
Wellness Complete Health Senior is formulated to target the major issues facing senior dogs. It contains 9% fewer calories than its adult food blends and lean proteins to help maintain their muscle mass and avoid excess weight gain. It also contains whole grains, high fiber, and probiotics to help support the digestive tract and prevent constipation. Further, Wellness Complete Health Senior contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health and improve mobility in arthritic dogs.
Orjen Senior Dry Dog Food
Orjen Senior uses the highest quality ingredients like locally sourced cage free poultry, wild caught fish, and nest laid eggs. Orjen Senior has no fillers, no processed ingredients, and is formulated using only whole foods so it is natural and easy to digest. It is also a low-glycemic kibble that helps stabilize blood sugar and is great for senior dogs with weight management issues or diabetes. Orjen also has low carbohydrates and lean proteins so the food is balanced to provide the perfect amount of energy for your senior dog.
Caring for your dog late in life can be challenging. As they get older they become less active and are at risk for a variety of illnesses. However, the best way you can ensure a high quality of life for your senior dog in their twilight years is to feed them the best quality dog food. Luckily there are many top dog food brands that have formulated kibble specifically for the nutrition of senior dogs that are readily available so when you are ready to make the transition to senior food, you can trust that your dog is getting all of its nutritional needs met.