|Our dogs are very much a part of the family. From the first day we bring the happy energetic pup into our home, we make sure to give them all that they need to stay healthy.|
|At around eight years of
age, dogs begin to show some signs of age-related changes in health. While some
of these are avoidable, you can help your dog to stay healthy and active, even
into old age. |
One of the most important things you can do is realize that when your dog gets older, he needs a change in diet. For small breeds, that change may begin at age seven, but larger breeds need a change in diet even earlier, beginning at five years of age. You should talk to your veterinarian about the necessary changes in diet for your dog.
Some senior diets for dog have reduced levels of protein, but studies have shown that this is not the best choice. Protein levels do not contribute to the development of disease, so you should be feeding your older dog a diet that contains good levels of highly digestible protein. This helps maintain muscle mass and energy levels. Dogs also begin to put on body fat as they age, due to a change in their metabolism and a decrease in activity level. A good diet for an older dog has a decrease calorie level, while still maintaining optimal levels of protein.
A good diet for a senior dog should include an increase in GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid, and FOS, which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Your dog should also get higher levels of antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene.
Finally, remember that regular exercise is a must for good health as your dog ages. Changes in your dog’s daily routine can cause stress, so make any changes in daily activity gradually.