Over the years, our furry friends are constantly changing and evolving alongside us - from puppies with boundless energy and curiosity to calmer and more loving senior dogs. It can be difficult to see our best friends ageing alongside us, but we can help them age gracefully and painlessly, so they can enjoy the best years of their lives with us.
Here are 3 ways to help your dog age gracefully, including our recommendations regarding the food, supplements, treats and toys that will boost your furry friend’s health and wellbeing as they transition into the next stage of their lives.
#1 Transitioning into a different diet
As your dog grows older, the kind of food they require will change - but it can be tricky to manage this change.
For instance, older dogs, much like human seniors, require much more protein as they lose muscle mass at a faster rate. In fact, some sources recommend an intake of at least 75 grams of protein per 1,000 calories. However, a higher protein content also means a higher Phosphorus content, a type of mineral that worsens the condition of dogs with existing kidney disease issues.
This is where special formula dog food for senior dogs come in. Natural senior dog food like ORIJEN’s Senior Food that is grain-free and has a higher protein content, clocking in at 38%, is beneficial for your dog. In particular, the care put into utilising the freshest and tastiest ingredients from freeze dried turkey liver to chicken and herring helps boost the health and wellbeing of senior dogs, especially as certain dogs can become pickier eaters as they grow older.
#2 Supplementing their diet
Other than the food they eat on a day to day basis, the best diet for senior dogs includes a healthy dose of supplements that help boost their health beyond what their day-to-day diet provides.
For example,Zeal’s Hoki Fish Oil helps to not only make your dog’s food more palatable but also improves your furry friend’s wellbeing as it contains Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA that improves skin and coat health, boosts immune systems and supports brain, heart, eye and join health, among others.
Other than the health benefits, it’s also important to do your research on the type of food and supplements your dog can consume. As they grow older, certain dogs’ teeth will drop or their teeth and gum health may not permit them to consume hard supplements. Therefore supplements likeNaturVet’s VitaPet Senior soft chew dog supplements are vital as they provide all of the health benefits in a package that your dog will actually be able to consume comfortably.
Other natural supplements that might benefit your pet contain antioxidants and vitamin C and E that improve cognitive functions, such as berries and apples. Although, you should do your research and consult a veterinarian prior to adding certain natural supplements to your dog’s diet.
Pet food that already comes infused with supplements are another great way to ensure your dog is getting the right amount of proteins, vitamins and antioxidants in their daily diet. However, it’s important not to over-supplement your dog as an excess amount of normally beneficial vitamins and nutrients can have an adverse impact on their health instead. If you choose pet food that is already infused with supplements, you may want to avoid feeding similar supplements meant for the same purpose to your dog.
#3 Introducing a little joy
Even as our pets grow older and experience behavioural changes such as becoming more picky eaters or becoming less active, it’s important to remember that in the end, they still love a lot of the things they loved when they were younger - such as treats and dog toys!
NRG+’s Active Ageing Dog Treats are a great way to reintroduce a little fun and joy in your dog’s life. Its natural ingredients combine to improve your dog’s liver function, mobility and joint health by increasing antioxidant, and Omega-3 intakes.
As mentioned earlier, your pet may not be able to play with the same kinds of toys they used to as their teeth and gums will be well used in their later years. Toys likeKONG’s Senior Dog Toyare therefore a good alternative for the regular dog toys.
Created using a special rubber formula, toys like these are much more gentle on the teeth and gums, and are therefore much more comfortable for your dog to play with and gnaw on. Stuff it with some senior dog snacks and peanut butter and your pet dog will have a great time.
Even as our dogs grow older alongside us, they are still essentially the same dogs with the same fun-loving personality. Even as we transition their diet into more nutritional and senior-suitable dog food, remember that our dogs still love treats and playing with toys, as long as the experience is much more catered to their needs.
Most importantly, cherish every moment you have with your dog, especially as they transition into the later stages of their lives. Enjoy your time with your best friend - and make every moment count!
Tammi writes articles about anything from data analytics to animal health, and loves doing the occasional craft. But most importantly, she loves hanging out and doing photo-shoots with her dog.