Nutrition for older dogs
I am a massive sucker for a grey face, I think it's such a blessing to live with an older dog😍
My 2 boys are getting older, Little Man, my Lab x is approximately 11 and Gavin the Dane is 7 this week, whilst 7 may not seem like an 'older' dog, a giant can be considered as such from 5 years of age due to their shorter life span. Our oldest living Dane was 13, she was smaller and incredibly healthy and didn't have to deal with the conditions Gav has had to which probably comes from being quite a big Great Dane.
👵🧓Older dogs are typically de-sexed and this + age will mean they generally need a lot less calories. The worst thing an older dog can be is overweight. Overweight dogs WILL die younger than they would have if they were lean. It places more strain on their joints causing early breakdown resulting in pain and lack of mobility. It also places more strain on their organs - what you're doing to your dog is effectively killing them with food, it sounds harsh, but it is the reality.
⚖️Many pet parents just don't realise how little some dogs need to eat. Little Man only needs 60g of food per and whilst he's not overweight, he's a bit heavier than what I personally like him. Some dogs are simply air ferns and it's that lack of accepting this that causes us to feed them more. In addition, a life time learning about manipulating their humans has made them experts in getting extra food from you...don't be a sucker.
🔎Very important information here: feeding guidelines on food packaging is a GUIDE not a rule. Never feed your dog as per the guideline at the determent of your dog. Your dog may need a lot less than what the packaging says. The guideline does not take into account your individual dogs metabolism and variables.
👩🔬👨🔬If your dog is overweight then I recommend you head to the Vet and get a wellness check, I get wellness checks that include blood work every 12 months to make sure the dogs are healthy and we can get a jump on any issues early which is especially important as they get older.
🔽Reduce your dogs intake by 15% to start with and then weigh them every week to see how you're going.
🥬🥩🍗Whilst your Vet may recommend a weight loss dry food, I would avoid them personally, their ingredients are terrible and dogs who are on these kibbles tend to have terrible coats so you have to wonder what it's doing to their insides. If you will only feed dry food then I would recommend you contact the Nutritional Scientist "Bill" athttps://www.lifewisepetfood.com/
and he'll help you find something within their range.
I recommend all dogs especially older dogs are put onto a balanced fresh food diet - no Dr would tell an overweight human to eat more processed food and less healthy fresh food right, so why would you do it to your dog? Food for thought.
👉If you don't want to make your own dogs fresh food then you can buy it premade and balanced from your petfood shop if they have a freezer section, the likes of Prime100, Proudi, Big Dog & Dr Billinghurst are readily available. Bulk packs are available from the likes of Sommerford Raw and they deliver to many locations.
✅If you would like to learn how to make your own balanced dog food, come and join us at our supportive mostly Australian group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rawandfresh/
☝️Older dogs dogs need higher quality proteins to keep good muscle tone so whatever you do, do not feed low protein food to an older dog unless medically indicated i.e. in kidney failure.
💩Gut health is also super important as gut health is has a direct link to mental and physical disease, good gut health comes from a varied fresh food diet not processed food. I also recommend probiotics for all dogs regardless of age, we manufacture one called Gut Dust and you can get it here:https://www.balanced-canine.com/my-doggie-boosters
🐟Omega-3's are also incredibly important in older dogs diets and many dogs diets are deficient especially kibble fed dogs. By feeding a variety of fresh food on rotation, our dogs get good levels of omega-3 from fatty fish and a variety of seeds, eggs and the likes but we also give Antinol which is a supplement for dogs with joint disease but its pretty cool because it also improves trainability in puppies, reduces cognitive decline in older dogs, can help improve skin and coat and is simply a kick ass omega-3 that nothing on the market compares to. If you would like an online supplier with free shipping, feel free to shoot us a message.
🏃♀️🏃♂️Don't forget to walk your older dog, like any dog, they should get getting off your property at least once a day to get exercise and enrichment from their environment. The lymphatic system needs movement to move well so exercise is incredibly important. Mobility will start its downward decline when walks stop or reduce. If your dog can't walk far then just go to where they can go.
💊Your annual wellness checks will alert your Vet as to whether your dog needs to be medicated for pain and inflammation. If your dog is limping, they are in pain and not addressing their pain is cruel. Many pet parents avoid medication because they don't want to put "chemicals" into their dogs body and affect organs - well that's cruel if you cannot manage their pain in other ways. As your dogs guardian, they're relying on you to make choices for them that improves their quality of life - it's not about quantity of years, it's about quality when they're older. There is little point prolonging a dogs life with more years when they are spent in pain.
Therapies such as massage, heat therapy, laser therapy, hydrotherapy, adjustments, acupuncture and the likes are all great therapies for older dogs.