Looking for the best senior dog food to feed your canine companion?
Providing your dog with the right kind of food at the right stages throughout life is really important. Your adult dog won’t thrive on the same food they used to eat as a young pup, and similarly, your dog’s needs often change as they enter into old age as well.
A proper diet goes a long way in helping to manage and aid the conditions that can commonly affect older dogs. (Not least of which being obesity.) There are a lot of senior dog food preparations available on the market, and some of them are pretty good, but they can be expensive and they often contain some questionable ingredients.
Preparing your own senior dog food is a really great option because you can be in control of everything going into the food, and with supplementation, you can also be sure that your furry friend is getting all the nutrients they need to thrive.
Keep in mind that it’s important to talk to your vet before making the switch over to a senior-stage dog food. This guide will discuss some of the main things to focus on and to be aware of when choosing to make your senior dog’s meals.
When is a Dog Considered a Senior?
First, it’s important to understand how to determine whether or not your dog would be considered a senior. Dogs are sometimes considered to be entering into old age at around 7 years. You may have heard the old formula, “1 dog year = 7 human years,” but it’s not really accurate. It’s not simply that dogs are considered to be elderly at a specific number of years.
Smaller dogs typically age slower than larger dogs. Small dog breeds often reach old age at 7 or 8 years, whereas large dog breeds become seniors at 5 or 6 years old. However, even this is a bit of a generalization.
Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior and appearance. Lack of energy, white hair in the face, and cloudy or hazy eyes are all signs that your dog is entering into old age. Speak with your vet when you start to notice some of these signs of aging, and they’ll help you decide if it’s a good time to make the switch to senior dog food.
For more info check out this article on how to calculate dog years to human years.
Should All Older Dogs Eat Senior Food?
It’s not always necessary that every older dog transition to a senior dog food preparation. If your dog is healthy, happy, and already eating a high-quality, balanced diet, it’s not required to make the switch.
You just want to be sure that your dog is getting plenty of high-quality protein. It’s also important that your dog is not getting an excessive amount of calories. Preventing obesity is very important, especially when your dog is starting to become elderly.
Senior dogs generally need fewer calories than they did as young adults, as their metabolism starts to slow down with age.
Do Older Dogs Need More Protein or Less?
Regardless of age, all dogs need a good amount of protein, though determining exactly how much will depend on a few different factors. You might be surprised to learn that older dogs actually need more protein in their diet than their younger counterparts.
As dogs age, their digestive system becomes less efficient at breaking down and metabolizing protein. And when they’re not absorbing adequate supplies of protein, the body will break down muscle tissue to make up for the deficit, which leads to muscle wasting. This is why protein is huge for senior dogs! And while you don’t want an excess of calories leading to obesity, you do want to supply them with as much high-quality protein as you can.
What Makes For a Good Senior Dog Food?
In addition to adequate amounts of protein, there are other properties and components of senior dog food that we would recommend. Fiber is another nutrient that becomes more vital as your dog ages, as it can help to aid a sluggish digestive system and prevent constipation.
As dogs age their metabolism slows down, meaning that they require less fats and less calories. Of course it’s still important that they are provided with some healthy sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which can help with joint mobility. And remember to be very careful to limit your dog’s sodium intake as well.
If your dog suffers from any dental issues, you may need to modify their food so that it’s easier for them to chew. Bully Max offers some great products that could be useful in a situation like this. And if your elderly dog is suffering from any specific health conditions, make sure to talk to your vet about what dietary changes may be necessary to help them cope with said issues.
You know that your dog needs less calories entering in old age, but how much exactly should you be feeding them? That will depend on a few factors, such as activity levels, as well as size and breed. To determine what is a healthy weight for your furry friend, you can check out this dog weight chart. And for more clarity on portion sizes, check out our article called, “How Much Should I Feed My Dog?”
DIY Homemade Dog Food for Senior Dogs Recipe
The following sections will explain how to prepare an easy senior dog food recipe. Cooking your dog a homemade meal is a loving and rewarding thing to do. And when done properly, it can keep your dog in optimal health while at the same time making your furry friend a very happy camper.
This recipe will use Bully Max’s high protein dog food, which is an All Life Stages formula that offers full label disclosure (letting you know every single ingredient that goes into your dog’s food). Most homemade recipes just call for a regular protein source, but using our high protein dog food provides an extra level of effectiveness and ensures your canine friend will hit all their required nutrients.
And if your dog is struggling to put on or maintain enough weight, you’ll also want to look into our weight gain supplements for dogs.
Elderly Dog Nutritional Requirements
The main nutritional components accounted for in this homemade recipe are:
- High-quality protein (found in meat, seafood, dairy or eggs)
- Fat (meat or oils)
- Carbohydrates (grains or vegetables)
- Calcium (dairy)
- Essential fatty acids (egg yolks or oatmeal)
This recipe provides approximately 50% protein, 25% veggies, and 25% grains, although these percentages can be adjusted based on the specific needs of your dog. If your dog is suffering from any ailments or symptoms of old age, talk with your vet about adjusting your dog’s diet to provide proper nutrition for your dog’s unique situation.
Bully Max Senior Dog Food Ingredients
- ⅘ lb Bully Max dog food or 1 lb ground turkey (both options contain similar protein content)
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- ½ package frozen broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower (or chop 2 ½ cups of fresh vegetables and cook them for about four minutes, just when they’re just starting to get tender but still firm)
- 6 cups water
- In a large pot, add the water, rice, Bully Max dog food (or ground turkey) and rosemary.
- Stir to break up the Bully Max dog food (or turkey) and ensure the ingredients are well mixed.
- Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the frozen or fresh vegetables. Continue to cook for five minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let the mixture cool before serving.
Voila! Dinner is served. Your leftovers should keep for about a week as long as they’re kept refrigerated in an airtight container.
Bon Appetit! The Best Senior Dog Food is Made at Home
Thank you for giving our recipe a try. We hope your dog loves it!
Adapting your dog food to fit the needs of your elderly dog is very important, and not all that hard to do. It isn’t easy watching our pups grow up and get older, but with the proper care and lots of love we can help them to live very long and very happy lives.
And if you haven’t already, do look into our top rated high protein dog food. It’s free of fillers such as corn and soy, and packed full of high-quality protein and carefully balanced ingredients, making it perfect for senior dogs. It’s also packed with a delicious meaty flavor that dogs of all ages are sure to love.