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For humans, dietary requirements are ever changing. Our diets change all the time. From when we go from being babies, to toddlers, to teenagers, to adults, our diets also change with us. We’ll need more of certain things and less of others to keep our body in tip-top shape.
While there aren’t many studies that prove this is also the case with our furry little friends, it’s a common assumption that cats and dogs also need a change in diet as they grow older.
Just like in people, your pet’s diet should specifically meet his personal nutritional requirements. What goes into determining a proper diet for your dog, depends on his medical condition, physical condition, and age. Your vet may be able to help you with this.
Here Are A Few Things That The Majority Of Dog Foods Have In Common:
- Reduced protein
- Reduced calories
- Low levels of sodium and phosphorous
- Higher levels of dietary supplements like joint supplements, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
- Higher levels of fiber
Now Here Are A Few Things You Should Keep In Mind About Your Elderly Dog:
Never put your pet on a decreased calorie diet if he is already too thin or of good overall weight. A lot of elderly dogs go through the same signs and symptoms of aging which may include:
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty getting and holding food in their mouths
- Change in diet patterns (decrease in his appetite)
- Lower sense of taste and smell
- Underlying conditions that might increase their rate of muscle atrophy and metabolic rate.
If you have an overweight dog, instead of putting him on a lower calorie diet, try portion control and cardio exercises to lose those pesky extra pounds. Nutritious food is always an integral part of development.
REMEMBER: It’s never okay to decrease his protein intake. The protein that his body needs to function does not decrease as he ages.
Quite on the contrary actually. Studies have shown that as your dog ages, the protein he requires to keep his body functioning properly actually increases. Select a good quality dog food for your dog. Make sure that it has high quality protein that your dog needs. Your vet would be able to help you with this.
Should You Feed Your Pet A Diet With Added Fiber?
Biologically, this is not an appropriate choice for dogs. More fiber often leads to lesser absorption of more important nutrients. Too much fiber tends to create a sort of barrier in his intestine, preventing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, from being properly assimilated. Instead of opting for the high-fiber dog food, give him a moisture-rich, balanced, diet instead. If your dog is in actual need of extra fiber in his diet, rather than turning to commercial products that can end up doing more harm than good, try these alternatives instead:
- Coconut fiber
- Leafy, green veggies
Always talk to your vet before putting your dog on a new diet or exercise regime.