Every dog’s aging process is unique. Around age 7, a dog officially has earned Senior Status – even if he doesn’t look it. It’s around this time that a dog’s body starts undergoing a series of internal and external changes. Here’s how you and your senior dog can prepare for this new chapter in his life.
What Happens To Dogs As They Get Older?
- Metabolism - With time, a senior dog’s metabolism slows down, his energy requirements decrease, and his activity level usually calms down too. This means that he’ll need fewer calories from his diet to keep him going.
- Gray Hair - Not even our beloved dogs can hide from gray hairs! Many senior dogs will begin getting gray around their muzzle and eyes, and it’s possible for a dog’s coat to become thinner and duller too. A senior dog may need more help from you with grooming, especially around his behind.
- Skin - Some older dogs experience thinner and dryer skin as they age, which can be more prone to injury. Lumps and bumps often show up in middle-aged and older dogs – most are harmless and just a natural part of aging, but it’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian and keep an eye on their growth.
- Fragile Nails - Senior dogs may experience more brittle nails as they age, which will need to be clipped more frequently than before to keep them in check.
- Calluses - Ever noticed a dog with “elbows”? When older dogs are less active and lay down more on hard surfaces, it’s common for calluses to develop – especially for large breed dogs. They don’t hurt the dog, but investing in a great dog bed can help prevent calluses from starting.
- Decreased Mobility - Age plus normal wear-and-tear on joints and cartilage can, understandably, cause a senior dog to slow down.
How Can I Help My Dog As He Ages?
- Preventative care and early treatment are important. We recommend visiting your veterinarian every 6 months to help keep your senior dog on track.
- Age-appropriate exercise for your senior dog’s body and mind. Your dog might not be moving as fast as he used to, so lower the intensity of physical exercise, but up the frequency to help maintain his muscles and work those joints. Don’t forget to play these brain games for dogs on a regular basis too!
- High quality, complete & balanced, tailored nutrition. Your dog might not be moving as fast as he used to, so lower the intensity of physical exercise, but up the frequency to help maintain his muscles and work those joints.
How Does Dog Food for Senior Dogs Fit In?
While we haven’t quite figured out how to stop the aging process (yet), complete and balanced nutrition that considers a senior dog’s unique needs can help make the golden years the best they can be. So what goals are important when choosing the best dog food for your senior dog?
- Supports Joint Health - Healthy bones & joints are important for senior dogs. A diet with nutrients like calcium, glucosamine & Omega-3 fatty acids can help your dog stay on the go for years to come.
- Helps Maintain Strong Muscles - A senior dog's metabolism changes can lead to loss of lean body mass, so the nutrients in dog food for senior dogs (like more protein) need to help with the heavy lifting.
- Adapts to a Changing Activity Level - As dogs age, they can be prone to weight gain. The feeding instructions and total caloric intake for your senior dog's food should decrease accordingly too, while still helping him keep his energy up.
- Promotes Healthy Skin & Coat - Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, plus vitamins A and E work together to help keep your dog’s skin and coat strong, hydrated, and healthy.
- Supports a Healthy Immune System - Antioxidants like sodium selenite and L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (aka vitamin C) can help support a healthy immune system.
High-Quality Nutrition for the Young at Heart
Whether or not your dog shows it, dogs ages 7 and up have specific nutritional needs. So it only makes sense that the best dog food for your senior dog isn't one-size-fits all — instead, try a blend of food that's personalized to support his body and lifestyle. What’s his activity level? Coat condition? Joint health? We ask, you tell us what makes him unique, and we’ll recommend a personalized, natural dog food for him just for him that’s based on his unique nutritional needs and preferences.