Senior Dog
Creative Commons License photo credit: ozmafan

Why are there “senior” dog foods and what exactly makes them “senior.”  Most of the time, glucosamine or chondroitin has been added to make the food “senior” dog food.  Glucosamine and chondroitin has been added for joint health so your senior dog has less stiffness as he ages.  These supplements reduce the stiffness from arthritis and other age related issues.

Does the dog food you are feeding your aging dog contain these ingredients?  Even though these ingredients are good for your senior dog, a lot of the “senior” dog foods contain such low levels that it won’t do your dog much good.  To relieve painful joints your dog needs about 500 mg of glucosamine and 400 mg of chondroitin per 25 lbs of body weight.  A lot of the “senior” foods have less than 500 mg of these combined.  To see if the dog food you are feeding your dog has these supplements you need to read the label.  Look for the area that says “Guaranteed Analysis” and see what the percentages are.  If it has low levels of these ingredients, find a dog food with high levels.  Be patient, it can take up to 12 weeks to see a difference in your pet.

Your dog should also be getting essential fatty acids.  These acids improve skin and coat conditions, help prevent memory and eyesight loss and even protect against joint problems.  Feeding your dog a fish based food or fish oil supplement will help him get the essential fatty acids he needs.

If you are feeding your dog kibble and only kibble, he isn’t getting the well rounded diet he needs.  The highest quality kibble brands are processed which leaves fewer of the nutrients for your pet.  So even if you are feeding your dog the highest quality kibble he isn’t getting all of the nutrients he needs.  You can supplement kibble with food like blueberries, carrots, yogurt and cottage cheese.  You should also give him homemade dog food once in awhile.

Filed under: Caring For Your Senior Dog

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