We all know how essential it is to eat right to stay healthy, but the impact of nutrition on senior dogs’ health is ever more significant.
Just ask Dr. Barbara Royal, a veterinarian with over 25 years of experience who has seen many cases of canine heart disease during her career.
She says that when older pets are fed diets high in fat, they can develop heart disease much earlier than dogs of the same age fed low-fat diets.
This is why Royal strongly recommends that owners of senior pets follow these six nutrition tips to help their best friend lead a healthier life:
We all eat too much and often eat the wrong things. The same is true for our pets, although most of us may not realize it in the case of our dogs and cats since they don’t overeat in an attempt to clean their plates.
Instead, many overfeed their pets out of love or habit. Fancy that! That’s why Royal recommends following these simple steps when shopping for senior dog food:
Royal believes that treats should be limited to 10 percent of a pet’s daily calorie intake, so the fewer, the better! Instead, she recommends using table scraps as rewards during training sessions because many owners are less likely to reward their dogs with unhealthy snacks.
Royal recommends that owners have their older dogs examined by a veterinarian twice a year, at least.
That way, any health problems that are developing could be caught before they become significant issues.
It’s also essential to bring your dog to the vet whenever he seems sick or has recently changed his regular behavior pattern.
Obesity can lead to numerous health problems, including arthritis and diabetes. Senior dogs are at greater risk of becoming obese because they usually have less energy to burn extra calories. That’s why Royal recommends learning more about portion control and training games.
Because cats are obligate carnivores, they require diets high in protein, challenging for dogs’ systems to digest.
Avoid fatty table scraps and corn-based treats.
Senior dogs can suffer from various health problems, and corn and table scraps don’t contribute to the solution.
Table scraps can lead to stomach upsets, food allergies, and obesity because owners often dole out too much for their pets.
While we may enjoy feeding our pets leftover chicken, it’s also vital that senior dogs not eat meat that has been cured or preserved with sodium nitrites, such as bacon and ham.
Royal says that dogs can’t digest salt or meat preservatives very well at all. That’s why she recommends sticking with fresh meats rather than cooked meats when cooking for your pet.
Here are some additional things to consider with senior dogs:
Consult with your veterinarian about how much you should feed your dog each day, and get help from a pet food advisor if necessary.
If your dog is overweight, you can try switching to a lower-calorie food.
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