The Best Food for Your Senior Dog

Just like humans, your dog's nutritional needs change throughout their lifetime. If your dog's muzzle is starting to grey it may be time to switch to a senior food for your dog. Today our Memphis vets share a few dry foods for older dogs that you may want to consider.

Nutrition for Senior Dogs 

At each stage in your dog's life their nutritional and caloric needs will change. Just like their owners, as dog's age their energy levels decrease, and their risk of heart disease, joint pain and stomach issues increases.

Dog foods that have been developed specifically to meet the unique needs of senior dogs typically provide a diet that's a high-protein, high-fiber, low-fat and low-sodium. Finding the best senior food for your dog can help you to control your dog's weight and prevent many of the health conditions faced by senior dogs such as obesity, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and dental problems.

When to Switch Your Dog to Senior Food

The right time to switch your dog to a senior food will depend upon your dog's breed and size.

  • Small dogs will typically live to the age of about 15-20 years, which means they will be considered senior when they reach about 8-9 years of age.
  • Large dogs have a slightly shorter average lifespan of about 12-15 years, meaning that you may want to switch your large dog to a senior food when they are about 6-7 years old.

Dry Foods Formulated for Senior Dogs

It can be difficult to know which dry foods for senior dogs are the best. Here are a few of our favorite foods that you may want to consider for your dog:

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition 

Royal Canin has a range of senior foods formulated specifically for older dogs of different sizes, with different health concerns. 

  • Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition SMALL Adult 8+ has small great tasting kibbles to keep even the fussiest senior dog energetic, healthy and happy.
  • Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition MEDIUM Aging 10+ dry food has been created to keep help maintain your medium dog's vitality and keep their coat glossy.
  • Royal Canin LARGE Adult 5+ dry dog food is formulated to help keep large bones and joints healthy
  • Royal Canin Urinary SO Aging 7+ dry food was developed to nutritionally support your senior dog’s urinary tract and bladder health.

Hill's Science Diet & Prescription Diet

Hill's also provides senior dogs with a range of dry food options specifically tailored to the different nutritional needs of different sized dogs.

  • Hill's Science Diet Dog Senior 11+ Adult Small Paws dry dog food provides small dogs with balanced, easy-to-digest nutrition tailored to help older small & toy breed dogs thrive.
  • Hill's Prescription Diet Dog k/d® + Mobility dry is available from your vet by prescription for senior dogs suffering from age-related conditions such as chronic kidney disease (CKD) reduced mobility or cognitive dysfunction.

Canidae Grain-Free Pure Meadow for Seniors

This high quality senior recipe is low in fat and high in fiber, to help aid digestion in senior dogs. This recipe is also grain-free and includes omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which help with liver and immune function in senior dogs.

Purina’s Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken and Rice

This dry food has been specially formulated for dogs 7 years and older and includes enhanced botanical oils, nutrients for cognitive health, pre-biotic fiber, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Wellness Core Senior Dog Food

Core Senior is a grain-free, weight control formula for seniors containing lots of omega-rich salmon oil, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and no meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Go! Carnivore Senior Formula

Made with 100% fresh meat for protein and a selection of fruits and veggies providing antioxidants to support immune system function, this food contains no wheat, corn or soy. The addition of green mussels and glucosamine/chondroitin may help to support hip and joint health.

Changing Your Senior Dog's Food

Regardless of your dog's age, changing a dog's food can cause some unpleasant consequences for your pet including gas and loose stools. The best way to transition your canine pal to a new food is in gradual steps.

Begin by mixing about 1/4 new food to 3/4 of their regular food for 3 or 4 days and monitor your dog for any signs of an upset tummy. 

Provided that your dog is doing well on the new diet, gradually increase the proportion of new food to about 50/50 and continue to monitor your dog for any reactions to their change of food.

Slowly over the course of about 10 - 14 days your dog's digestive tract should become accustomed to the new food and you can complete the transition to the new diet. However, if your dog continues to show signs of gastrointestinal upset, contact your vet. A longer, more gradual transition to the new food may be required, or perhaps it isn't the right food for your senior dog.

To find out which dry dog food is best for your senior dog, contact our Memphis vets today to book an appointment. Your vet can recommend the right food to provide your senior dog with all the nutrition they need. 

Best dry food for senior dogs, Memphis Vet

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