How to feed an old dog?

28-03-2020
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Depending on the species, age, size and state of health, the nutritional needs of pets can change. An older dog needs a different amount of food and nutrient ratio than a puppy.

Dog food

Dogs are omnivorous animals. Their predecessor, the wolf, in addition to hunting for prey, feeds on carrion, certain vegetables and mushrooms. In the wild, wolves are able to eat a lot of food in a short time when there is availability. Dogs can therefore only eat once a day, as their stomach supports great distension.

For dogs, which are omnivorous, it is better to feed a food made up of a variety of ingredients rather than a food formulated only with meat . Vegetables, legumes, fish and fruits contain other nutrients that are just as important to the animal.

According to their race, their age, their state of health, their predisposition, their state of reproduction and their level of activity , it is advisable to offer them a food more or less rich in energy, proteins, fibers, fats and other nutrients.

An old dog next to his bowl

The importance of feed ingredients

When we choose a food for our pet, we need to consider a series of characteristics that confirm that the product we choose is of good quality , for which we need to examine its composition:

  • The order of the ingredients: the order indicates the proportion in which the ingredients appear in the composition, so that those which appear first are present in greater quantity. The first thing to appear is the source of protein (meat, fish and vegetables). Next, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals are named
  • Specific ingredients are better than generics:  animal feeds containing specific ingredients, such as chicken, lamb, etc., are preferable to generic feeds containing only “meat” or “poultry”
  • Ash:  ash is the residue that remains when food is subjected to high temperatures to create the food. Supermarket feed contains a higher percentage of ash and contributes to scale formation because it contains more minerals
  • Fibers:  fibers are necessary to facilitate intestinal movement, which also forces the dog to chew more food, while removing the remains of plaque.
  • Avoid dyes and additives
An old dog with no appetite

What are the food needs of old dogs?

With age, diseases that require food management such as colitis, kidney or hormonal diseases become more common. But if not, a healthy older dog simply needs a lower calorie diet.

The energy requirements are lower in older dogs because they store more fat, their metabolic activity and their body temperature being reduced. They also become less physically active. It is therefore enough to provide 3000 or 4000 Kcal per kilo of food to avoid obesity .

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