Specific Geriatric Behavior Problems And Their Behavioral Treatment
AnxietyIncluding Separation AnxietySome common concerns reported by guardians of aging dogs are increased sensitivity and irritability, increased fear of unfamiliar pets and people , decreased tolerance of touch and restraint, increased following and desire for contact, and increased anxiety when left alone. Noise sensitivity from hearing loss can also make some dogs more anxious and vocal. Your own frustration and distress over your dogs behavior can add to your dogs anxiety as well.
If house soiling has become a problem, some guardians opt to crate their dogs when theyre not home. Unfortunately, confining a senior dog to a crate can raise his anxiety level if hes never been crated or is no longer accustomed to it. To make things worse, if he cant get comfortable in the crate, or if he cant control his bowels or bladder, hell be even more anxious and may attempt to escape. In these cases, it may be the confinement, not the guardians departure, that causes anxiety.
If its the guardians departure and absence that causes a dogs anxiety, its called separation anxiety. The cardinal indicators of separation anxiety are:
- Predeparture anxiety: pacing, panting, salivating, hiding, trembling or depression as you prepare to leave
- House soiling , destructiveness or vocalizing that occur soon after you leave the house
- Destructiveness directed at exit points, like windows and doors, and house soiling while youre gone
- Refusal to eat when left alone
Best Overall: Royal Canin
Think of it as pet food fit for kings and queensRoyal Canin offers foods for all sorts of dogs: purebreds, young, old, large, and small. Plus, you can choose from wet and dry food options with this brand.
The companys values are inspiring: Not only do they focus on making food thats healthy for pets, but they are also intent on reducing their environmental impact. The company got its start in France in the 1960s, and has gone on to be an international brand, with food sold around the world. Royal Canin is available for sale at local pet foods stories and vet offices, as well as many popular online retailers.
Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food
- Contains no artificial additives or preservatives
- Comes in a 30.7-pound bag
Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food features 15 superfoods that provide senior dogs with enough nutrition to keep them healthy and free from issues that come with aging. The formula includes a vibrant blend of proteins derived from three sources. The three sources are chicken, lamb, and salmon.
The other superfoods that blend with the proteins to provide balanced nutrition include kale, spinach, apples, blueberries, chia seeds, sunflower oil, coconut, flaxseed, pumpkin, carrots, egg, and tomatoes. The formula also provides the senior dog with glucosamine and chondroitin that give the dog the ability to support joint health that, in turn, helps to prevent health issues such as arthritis. The grain-free diet does not contain any wheat, soy, corn, or gluten. It is also free artificial additives and preservatives.
The fish oil content in the recipe helps to reduce inflammations by providing the necessary EPA. It also improves the ability of the immune system to fight off infections more efficiently. The formula is slightly more expensive than others in the market are, but it is worth the amount.
Also Check: Is It Ok For Cats To Eat Dog Food
Dog Food For Medium Breeds
Dog food formulated for medium-sized breeds is exactly what youre thinking! Like the porridge Goldilocks ultimately ate, dog food for medium-sized dogs has exactly the right amounts of nutrients and calories for dogs who dont require more or less due to their size, age, or health issues.
DID YOU KNOW? Before dog food was commercially prepared somewhere around 1860, dogs ate the following things:
- Bone Knuckles
Calories In Vs Calories Out
Its a term we are all familiar with – calories in must equal calories out. While its not exactly an all-encompassing term, it does make the point that we should be cautious of feeding our pets more calories than they are capable of using.
As our pets age, its common for them to slow down. Weight and activity levels should be monitored to help you identify the need for a change in diet, feeding guidelines, or routine.
While not every senior dog will slow down the same way, you should be prepared for subtle changes, and be able to respond accordingly.
You May Like: Can Dogs Be Tested For Food Allergies
Always Talk To Your Vet About Diet Changes
There are so many great options when it comes to senior dog foods these days. The variability in nutrient and ingredient content makes it hard to know what is best. Choosing the right food should be a decision based on your senior dog’s specific needs, known health conditions, disease risk, and lifestyle. Your veterinarian is a key player in your dog’s health and should be consulted when considering a dietary change.
Senior Dog And Cat Foods: What Makes Their Needs Different
As pet owners, we realize that our beloved pets have shorter lifespans than us humans. That is why we need to do everything in our power to make the time we do have together count. It is also our responsibility to ensure our fur babies are happy and healthy during their life.
This means being aware of their physical capabilities/limitations and mental state as they age. Our mature pets have different needs as they grow older and we need to make the necessary adjustments as they enter their golden yearsnot only altering their diet, but also making changes to their routine and the manner in which we care for them.
Read Also: What Dog Foods Have Been Recalled
Senior Dog Food Vs Regular Dog Food: Whats The Difference
Just like humans, dogs require different amounts of nutrients and calories at different points in their lives. For this reason, youll want to select the correct formula for your pups age.
It is very important to feed your dog appropriately for their life stage, says Dr. Jessica Herman, a Kentucky-based veterinarian at Fuzzy Pet Health. An adult or senior dog that eats puppy food will be eating too many calories, which in turn may lead to weight gain. Conversely, puppies eating adult food may not be getting enough calories to properly grow.
Theres no one magical recipe for seniors. Instead, senior dog foods contain nutrition profiles meant to manage conditions commonly associated with aging. Many senior formulas contain the following, says Herman:
Best Senior Dog Food: Choosing The Best Food For Older Dogs
Senior dog food can make even the grayest-muzzled canine pal happy. Just ask Pudge, a cranky ol black Labrador from Pasadena, California. The 12-year-old dogs mom, Susanne Jeter, noticed changes in Pudge as he got olderhe took longer to rise from his bed, he wasnt as playful as he once was and he started putting on some extra weight.
We all get oldeven our dogs, Jeter says. Ive had Pudger since he was a puppy, and at 9, 10 years old, he really started showing his age. I could tell that his joints were hurting.
Following the advice of her veterinarian, Jeter switched Pudges diet to one specially formulated for senior, overweight dogs with creaky joints. She also added some fish oil to provide supplemental omega-3 fatty acids.
Hes now aging gracefully, she says with a laugh. Hes still grumpy sometimes when its cold and rainy outside, but when the sun comes out, hell grab his ball and ask to play a game of fetch again. As his doggy mom, it makes me happy to know hes not so uncomfortable anymore!
With just a few dietary changes, Pudges demeanorand his quality of lifeimproved. If youre wondering what is the best thing to feed an old dog, read on to learn everything youve ever wanted to know about food for older dogs.
Read Also: What Foods Are Unhealthy For Dogs
Older Dogs May Need More Encouragement To Eat
It’s normal for dogs to eat less as they get older, but they should still have a healthy appetite.
If your dog is eating a lot less than normal, or refuses to eat at all, this could be a sign of an underlying medical problem. Kidney disease, diabetes, cancer or dental problems can all affect your dog’s appetite, so you should visit a vet as soon as possible for a diagnosis.
Once serious causes have been ruled out, there are a few things you can do to make food more appealing to a senior dog. These include:
- Try to make your dog’s food more palatable, as senior dogs can be fussier about what they eat – often due to a reduced sense of taste. Adding cooked chicken is an easy example, although make sure you don’t accidentally overfeed.
- If you’re using dry kibble, try mixing it with warm water to make it softer and more appetising. Low-sodium chicken broth can be even more appealing.
- Multiple smaller meals throughout the day may be easier for your dog to digest than one or two large meals.
- If your dog is suffering from joint pain, discuss pain medication with your vet. It can be difficult for a dog to feel like eating if they are in pain.
- Some types of medication can affect a dog’s appetite. If you think this might be the reason for your pet eating less, discuss alternative medications with your vet.
- Older dogs sometimes find it difficult to eat from bowls on the floor. Consider getting an elevated dish, so that your pet doesn’t need to bend his neck so much to eat.
Benefits Of Feeding A Senior Dog Food Formula
A senior dog food may offer numerous benefits to aging dogs, including:
- High-quality protein sources in greater amounts than adult maintenance formulas to support lean muscle mass
- Appropriate caloric balance from fat and protein
- Additional nutrients, like glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids to support joint health and mobility
- Vitamin A and linoleic acid to support healthy skin and coat
Some senior dog food formulas may also include enhanced vegetable oils to promote alertness and mental sharpness in geriatric dogs.
Read Also: Is Raw Food Good For Your Dog
Faqs Regarding General Dog Nutrition
- What is the best vet recommended dog food? The truth is, there is no real consensus among vets on which food is the best. This is because all dogs are different and unique. There is no one catch-all formula that would be perfect for any dog. We would, therefore, recommend searching for a well-regarded food that is high in protein and fat, and that your dog likes the taste of!
- What foods should dogs avoid? There are more foods that dogs should avoid than could ever be listed here. Some common human foods that are poisonous to dogs are chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, and sweetcorn. Check with a veterinary website before you feed your dog anything that isn’t marketed as canine food.
- Is Grain Free Dog Food Really Better? Dogs have been found to have trouble digesting grains and therefore grain-free foods can help aid digestion. A grain-free diet for your dog will also mean that you are likely buying formulas with higher levels of vegetables, fiber, and proteins. This will help the development of your dog’s coat and skin, as well as provide your dog with more energy. A grain-free diet has however recently been linked to a small increase in canine heart disease.
- What dog foods are causing heart problems? The FDA has recently begun to investigate how grain-free canine formulas might increase the risk of canine heart disease. It’s still too early to come to any major conclusions, but we will keep an eye out on this story as it develops.
Senior Dog Diets For Common Senior Dog Issues
As dogs age, they naturally develop certain health-related issues. Some of their symptoms can be eased with diet and supplements, say experts.
Several other nutrients and other compounds may be of interest because of their impact on cognitive dysfunction, oxidative damage and/or the immune system and degenerative joint disease, Dr. Larsen says.
Keep Your Pooch Happy And Healthy
Madeleine Burry has written about how to care for pets for more than 10 years. Her articles have appeared in AAA’s Via Magazine, PetCareRx, and other outlets.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the bestproducts youcan learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
The Spruce / Chloe Jeong
Best for Large Dogs: Purina at Chewy
The Pro line has plenty of options for large and giant dog breeds, which have different nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Best for Small Dogs: Wellness Pet Food at PetCo
To meet your small dog’s nutritional needs, this company packs plenty of calories into smaller kibble bites that are easy to chew.
Dogs arent necessarily super picky when it comes to what they eat. Havent we all observed them scrounging through the trash for a tasty bit of leftovers or a bone to gnaw on? But your poochs voracious appetite doesnt mean that just any food is a good option for dinneror breakfast or lunch.
When choosing a dog food brand, youll want to consider the ingredients that are used, along with the companys ethos. That is, youll want to feel confident that the company cares about your pets health and safety as much as you do.
Here are the best dog food brands on the market to keep your pup’s system in top shape.
Best Large Breed Senior Dog Food
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- Added antioxidants to support immune health
- Natural fiber to support digestion
Things to Consider
- Large kibble size may be difficult for some dogs to chew
Sample buyer review:Ive been feeding this to my German Shepherd for almost five years now. I love the ingredients and the added glucosamine, and she loves the food.
You May Like: What Is Dehydrated Dog Food
Whats The #1 Cause Of Food
Although it contributes to health issues in dogs of all ages
Obesity is the #1 cause of chronic disease and premature death in seniors.
Extra weight means your dogs joints have to work harder and they may already be inflamed from arthritis, hip dysplasia or a luxated knee cap.
Unfortunately, dogs are naturally more prone to obesity as they age. According to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science3
Because of decreased physical activity and slowed metabolism, older dogs need 20% fewer total calories than do middle-aged adult dogs.
So, a low calorie food can help your dog lose or maintain her weight without feeling hungry all the time.
Best Senior Dry Dog Foods For Medium Breeds
30% Off + Free Shipping
Wellness complete health natural senior dry dog food
Made in the U.S., this filler-free kibble is well-balanced, fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints.
Holistic select senior
As is characteristic of this brand, this dog food features digestive support probiotics, prebiotics and enzymes. And it has a chicken flavor that your senior dog is sure to love.
Merrick Grain Free Senior Real Chicken
Within a commitment to providing high protein, healthy fats, and industry-leading Omega 6 and Omega 3 levels for healthy skin and coat, Merrick Senior may be the right choice for an active senior dog
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Dog Food
Featuring LifeSource blends with well-balanced antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, such as L-Carnitine for healthy muscles, Blue Buffalo is a good choice for a medium-sized senior dog.
Diamond Naturals for senior dogs
With glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support as well as a healthy balance of protein, fats, and fiber, Diamond Natural is a nutrient-dense, power-packed kibble.
Canidae Life Stages dry dog food
If you want to keep your dog on the same diet throughout her life, Canidae life stages dry dog food provides optimal nutrition for puppies, adults, and seniors.
You May Like: What Food Helps With Dog Shedding
Feed For Organ Health
Other factors to consider are senior dog health problems such as heart and kidney disease. For both conditions, youll want a low-sodium food. But, that same 2011 study found that sodium levels in senior foods ranged from 33 to 412 mg/100 kcal. For kidney disease, youll want low phosphorous, but thats not even mentioned on any label. The 2011 study found phosphorous levels varied by threefold in the senior foods they examined, but were on average higher than their representative adult maintenance food.
Prescription diets are available for heart, kidney, and other diseases that take into account these nutritional needs. However, even those foods may have wide ranges of nutrients. Any dog food manufacturer should be able to provide these numbers to you on their website or with a simple phone call. While youre at it, ask them about the credentials of the people formulating their foods. If they cant provide either, thats clue number one that you should find another product.
What Should I Do If My Senior Dog Wont Eat
Most importantly, if your dog is losing weight and not eating well, he should have a complete veterinary exam to rule out any possible disease problems. If everything checks out, then you’ll need to take steps to modify your dog’s diet.
Some older dogs suffer from a lack of weight gain and disinterest in food. If a dog normally eats dry food, he may have decreased consumption because he has a hard time chewing the large kibble. By feeding a kibble with smaller pieces, moistening the food with water or adding a nutrient-dense canned food you can make the food easier to chew. Adding other foods can increase the appeal try adding a little water from canned tuna or a small amount of cooked chicken. Homemade diets of boiled rice, potatoes, vegetables and chicken with correct vitamin and mineral supplements work well with others. Ask your veterinarian for a homemade diet recipe would be best for your dog. Do not try to formulate one yourself, as the vitamin and mineral levels are critical. Some dogs love to eat cat food, but this should be avoided since it is too high in protein.
Not sure which senior diet is best for your dog? Please contact one of our Animal Health Advisors for further advice on 0203 675 0780
Recommended Reading: What Flavor Dog Food Is Best