Feeding Your Older Dog

The key to a happy, healthy pet is feeding them the right type and right amount of food specific to their individual age and lifestyle. Their nutritional requirements vary according to their breed, size, age, lifestage and activity level.

Senior dogs require a diet which has an adjusted nutritional composition to cater for their different requirements as they age.

Depending on the size of your dog, they will mature at a different age. A small dog reaches their senior years at around 8 years old, a medium dog at 7 years and a large dog at 5 years.

When your dog ages they can start to experience a decline in the function of certain organs, including their immune system. They may become less active and their sense of smell and taste can be affected.

A diet which caters for supporting their vital organs for example reduced protein and phosphorus content to support kidneys as well as reduced calorie content should be fed. Also helping to boost their immune function as well as being extremely palatable is extremely important. There are a wide range of Senior diets available and where possible you should buy the best one you can afford. Premium dog foods offer health benefits as well as providing nutrition.

The Senior Consult Lifestage diets made by Royal Canin, contains a selection of nutrients that help to support vital functions in ageing dogs and cats. This food should be fed as an everyday complete diet for your senior pet regardless of whether they have any ageing signs.

The diet helps:

  • support ageing cells by neutralising the free radicals by containing antioxidants
  • preserves kidney function by having a reduced level of phosphorus
  • supports brain health by containing L-tryptophan, an amino acid that plays an essential role in the regulation of anxiety, sleep and appetite
  • helps preserve muscle mass which can be lost with old age by containing a specific balanced formulation of amino acids
  • helps maintain mobility with chondroitin, glucosamine and Green Lipped Mussel extract

Weight gain as well as loss can also occur and close attention should be paid to your pet’s weight as being either overweight or underweight can lead to serious health problems. Weight gain can easily occur when your pet ages as they become less active and have a slower metabolism, needing less calories. The increase in weight can worsen health problems for example increasing the pressure on joints, worsening arthritis or increasing the pressure on their heart function worsening heart disease.

Weight loss occurs in some dogs just as easily. This can be because of deterioration in their sense of smell and taste or it can be attributed to underlying chronic disease or age related issues. It is important to come and see us if you are noticing any changes. Our veterinary nurses offer Senior Clubs to help care for your pet during their golden years.

How old is your dog?

Why not check the chart below and see how old your pet is in human years.

Click on the video below to find out more about feeding your older dog.

Useful links:
Caring For Your Older Dog
Royal Canin

Vaccination And Your Older Dog

Dogs of all ages can and do become seriously ill or die from infectious diseases that could have been prevented through vaccination. It is a common misconception that immunity from their primary puppy vaccinations lasts for life or is less important as your dog ages.

Older dogs are more prone to disease and as with everything prevention is always better than cure! Their immune systems become less efficient and weakened over time. Infections are picked up more easily and as a result, senior dogs may not be able to fight off disease as well as they could when they were younger.

The regular annual visits for a booster vaccination, also allows your vet to perform a full clinical examination and check up. This enables us to spot the early signs of any disease conditions which may be developing. The onset of many of these symptoms are often subtle and easy to miss. For example weight loss, increased thirst or changes in appetite and behaviour can all be closely monitored by regularly attending healthchecks for your older dog. Many diseases and conditions are much better controlled when they are diagnosed early for example renal and dental disease.

At Cinque Ports Vets we offer  Senior Clubs which offers you the opportunity to regularly attend check ups with your veterinary nurse.  These help you monitor your pets health in between their annual or six monthly checks with the vet.

Useful links:
Vaccinating Your Dog