Dogs are considered to be seniors at different ages depending on their breed. The larger the breed, the sooner they become seniors. Small breeds are not seniors until around 12 years old. Medium breeds at around 9 and large breeds at 8.
Signs of Dogs Ageing.
Your dog will be sleeping more and will not be as willing to participate in vigorous exercise as he was. His coat will be deteriorating. He will also need more bathroom breaks than he did and will have bathroom accidents from time to time.
He will be slower to respond to you and may even ignore you. Onset of arthritis may make it harder for him to get up.
Related Article: Arthritis in Dogs
As his exercise level decreases, if he stays on the same diet, he will start to put on weight.
Effects Of Weight Gain On Senior Dogs
There are a number of problems associated with a dog being overweight. These include an inferior quality of life and a shorter life expectancy. There is greater strain on the joints and bones. An overweight senior dog is more likely to develop arthritis and if he already has arthritis, it will make it worse.
The chance of hip dysplasia, liver disease, heart disease and kidney disease are higher.
Elevated blood pressure and diabetes are associated with excess weight.
What You Can Do About Your Senior Dog’s Excess Weight.
Before you completely change your dog’s diet you should consult your vet. You have to make sure that your dog is getting the right nutrition.
However there are some simple things you can do before you start feeding a new diet.
Give your dog fewer treats and those that you do give should be healthy.
Related Article: Healthy Treats for Your Dog
You should stop feeding table scraps and give your dog smaller portions at mealtime.
Take your dog for more exercise. The intensity and length of the exercise should be suitable for your dog’s physical condition.
When Changing Your Dog’s Diet, Consider His Nutrition
Before making major changes to your senior dog’s diet, talk things over with your vet. Here are some things to consider.
Add a joint supplement. As your dog ages and his joints start to become stiff, it is a good idea to give him a joint supplement. You should look for a supplement that contains glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM. This combination will help promote healthy joints.
Include some fruit and vegetables in the diet. These foods are high in antioxidants which help fight the effects of ageing. If you can’t get your dog to eat fruit and vegetables you could try an antioxidant capsule.
Feeding fish will benefit your dog. Fish is high in Omega-3s which help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Fish oil supplements are an alternative to fish.
If you are feeding a commercial food mix, consider a lower calorie brand.