If the dog is becoming slower or older and also lost interest in food, it means the dog is aging. Eating habits and dietary needs signify age of the dog. However, there are different types of challenges of feeding an older dog. Senior dogs or the different dog breeds have different nutrition requirement. A dog has a lifespan of 10-12 years, but it can be increased with proper care. However, there are necessary requirements which are applicable to all.
The most common problem feeding the older dogs do they require more calories or less. It is not necessary for a pet or even for a human being that with age they get lazy. With age metabolic rate change this results to store more fat and burn more calories. It was seen in a recent study that the older or the mature dogs require 20 percent fewer calories than the immature puppies to maintain the same weight. They will benefit from eating food which has fewer calories and less fat. Research also says that L- carnitine is a compound made from amino acids in fish, chicken, red meats, dairy products help the body to use fat for energy.
However, with age pets and humans tend to get thin and lose weight instead of gaining weight. In these type of cases pets have a decreased appetite, they also have a reduced appetite and minimized the sense of taste and smell. They also face difficulty while swallowing and chewing. During this situation owners will need to increase the fat content of the diet which will improve calorie content and palatability, it will enhance protein deficiency.
There was a contrary idea about protein that it is not suitable for old dogs as it overworks them. However, in research, it was seen that protein does not have any adverse effects on kidneys, but they require more protein to stay fit. If compared with a 2-year-old dog with a 13-year-old dog, it was seen that the older dog needed 50 percent more protein. The mature dog’s loose muscles reserves after regular exercise and hence, require more protein to build up body mass. The excessive loss of muscle tissue can impair immune system which will further lower the body’s ability to react to any physical or mental trauma. Low protein reserves also indicate that the body does not have sufficient amino acids to repair the tissue and metabolism. The older dogs should increase to calorie ration with the minimum percent of calories from protein.
Some owners add a high quantity of grain with fewer calories, to lose the dog weight, but the owners should know that very older dogs do not need to lose weight. On the other hand, excessive intake of the fiber decreases the absorption of essential nutrients as the fibers which are cellulose-based are very inferiorly fermented that can reduce different nutrient digestibility. However, it has specific uses. Also, it helps to soothe constipation, which is a common problem in older dogs. Glucose regulation is a problem in older dogs, fiber intake helps to reduce it. A homemade product like beet pulp can replace cellulose fibers that are used in dog foods, it offers better nutrient digestion and glucose regulation. Owners have a wrong idea that it causes bloat and contains sugar which is not ideal for the dogs.
Like human beings dogs also should not intake high sodium levels. The standard dog foods contain more sodium than the pet needs. But the dogs who suffer from high blood pressure, kidney problems and heart problems should not eat more salt but should rest on a low salt or sodium diet. The health problems make it difficult for the dogs to discharge excess sodium fed. It will be suitable for the senior pet if the sodium intake is decreased and not eliminated from their diet. Dogs would not suffer from osteoporosis if they ate a healthy food rich in calcium and minerals. Hence, the mature dogs do not require any calcium supplement if they are on a commercial diet.
Old dogs are prone to often dehydration, because of various health problems like high medications for heart disease like diuretics. Or for kidney disease which makes them urinate frequently. Intake of cold fresh water will help the dog to stay active and fresh throughout the day.
Controlling diet is the key to curing the disease, without proper nutrition keeping the blood glucose levels is a tough task, with insulin injections at periodic levels. Controlling the blood sugar level is crucial to control the symptoms of diabetes.
Consistency is much more important than the type of food. The dog will do fine if it is given high-quality food which is nutritious. The patient dog will remain fit if it is fed twice regularly. The perfect diet choices for patient pets are a high protein meat based diet which has moderate fat and no carbohydrate. If carbohydrates are included, it should be in meager quantity. 30 to 40 % of calories will come from protein and nearly 30 % of calories from sugar and fat. Additional restrictions will be necessary if it has blood fat elevations and pancreatitis.
If the dog is obese, it is essential to keep body weight under control. However, diabetes is not a result of overweight or fat pets are less healthy than the fat pets. But maintaining a healthy diet and weight will maintain its blood sugar levels. If its exercise and diet are persistent, then its insulin intake will also remain constant. However, it will need monitoring and adjusted occasionally.