As your dog gets older, their lifestyle will tend to change and their diet needs to be updated to compensate for this. The most difficult part can be telling when your dog is ready for the switch from adult dog food to senior dog food as this varies so much between different breeds and even individual dogs. This guide looks at spotting the signs of aging in your dog and recommends the best senior dog food to keep them happy and healthy in their old age.
What Age is Considered a Senior Dog?
It’s often said that one human year is the equivalent of seven human years but this, and therefore the lifespan of your dog, will vary depending on its breed or size. The general rule is that smaller breeds will live for longer and therefore not be considered senior until they are older. Our infographic can help as a rough guide to judging your dogs age but this will still vary between individuals.
So, when should you start feeding your dog senior dog food? Most dogs can be considered as senior when they are 5 – 10 years old but this can vary greatly, even down to the individual dog. Large dogs could be considered senior from as young as 5 years and small dogs may not show signs of old age until 12 years. Signs of aging need to be monitored to see if your dog is approaching old age.
The signs of aging in dogs to look out for include:
- Lack of energy, intolerance to exercise or a limit in mobility.
- Loss of appetite or gain in weight.
- Grey hair or a thinner or drier coat.
- Incontinence or other bathroom issues.
- Sleeping more or getting tired easily.
- Getting lost or confused – this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s or Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in your dog.
- Behavioural changes such as increased whining, or apprehension and fear of loud noises.
- Lack of response to commands – can be indication of hearing issues or a symptom of Alzheimer’s.
If your dog begins to show any of these symptoms of old age, we recommend taking them to the vet to have a check up. It’s important to get a professional opinion to make sure that there are no underlying issues and they can advise you if your dog is actually entering their senior years.
What Should I Feed My Old Dog?
Your dog getting older doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom! With the right diet and care your dog can have a long and happy old age by your side. There are plenty of senior dog foods available that are specially designed to provide everything your dog will need in their old age. Before switching from an adult dog food to a senior dog food, it is always best to consult your vet to see if your dog has any special dietary requirements.
Do Dogs Lose Weight as They Get Older?
More often than not, dogs will actually start to gain weight as they reach old age because of their less active lifestyle. This needs to be carefully managed as gaining too much weight can put extra pressure on your dogs joints and leave them more susceptible to arthritis. Most senior dog foods are designed to avoid excessive weight gain as your dog ages but this can also be managed by feeding smaller portions to your dog more often. If your dog does start to lose weight as they get older, they should be taken to the vet to check for any underlying issues. It can be as simple as a dental problem which is making it difficult for your dog to eat and can be solved by switching to a dog food with smaller kibble.
Do Older Dogs Need More or Less Protein?
In old age, dogs are more likely to develop kidney or liver problems which is when protein intake becomes a concern. Your dog should have regular check ups and blood tests to check for kidney or liver problems and if they are found to be suffering then your vet will likely suggest moving to a low protein diet. Otherwise, the best senior dog food will have high protein content but lower calories to encourage lean muscle mass while maintaining a healthy body weight. Regular vet checkups should be attended to make sure your dog doesn’t develop kidney or liver problems but usually a high protein diet is ideal for older dogs.
What is the Best Senior Dog Food?
There’s plenty to take into account as your dog gets older but finding the right dog food can be key to keeping them fit and healthy. Here are the top 5 best senior dog foods that we recommend:
- Orijen Senior Dog Food
- Canagan Senior Dog Food
- James Wellbeloved Senior Dog Food
- Barking Heads Senior Dog Food
- Acana Senior Dog Food
Any of these are excellent choices for older dogs and you can read on for more information about the benefits of each of our top rated senior dog foods:
Orijen Senior Dog Food contains 38% protein, and is limited to just 19% low-glycemic carbohydrates in order to provide the right nutrients that an older dog requires. It is full of goodness to support lean muscle mass, with calories balanced to support the peak health of more sedentary dogs. The fresh ingredients in all of Orijen’s foods make sure that your dog is getting the diverse, meat concentrated diet that they are evolutionary suited to. This is probably the highest quality senior dog food on the market at the moment and a 2.27kg bag is available for £20.99 in our online store.
Canagan Light/Senior is a complete grain free dog food which provides the ideal daily intake of nutrients sourced from animal protein, vegetables and beneficial botanicals. The formula provides just the right levels of protein for strong muscles, whilst offering a lower fat and calorie content suitable for older or overweight dogs. Joints are a big concern as dogs get older and this feed promotes healthy joints and connective tissue through glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin. Canagan senior dog food is a fantastic option and a 2kg bag can be purchased for just £13.99 in our online store.
This James Wellbeloved Senior Dog Food contains naturally healthy white meat nourishment in the form of turkey. It is a hypoallergenic dog food to help stop loose digestion and soothe skin irritation. This food contains a unique formula Joint Therapy System which is a special mix of chondroitin, glucosamine and herbs to help lubricate dog’s joints and ligaments. Delicious and crunchy and smothered in turkey gravy, this senior dog food is a great choice at £9.49 for a 2kg bag.
Barking Heads Golden Years has been specifically developed for dogs in their senior years. They have added more Glucosamine, MSM and Chondroitin which help to maintain and oil aging cartilage and stiffening joints. The apple and cranberries make Golden Years especially tasty, nutrient-dense and rich in all the good vitamins needed to not only look good and healthy, but to feel it too! A 2kg bag of Barking Heads Senior Dog Food is currently £13.99 in our online store.
The Acana Senior is a top rated senior dog food that is packed with fresh regional ingredients full of goodness to keep your dog healthy and active. This exclusive range of ranch raised meats, cage-free poultry, wild caught fish and sun ripened fruits and vegetables are full of nourishing flavours and are preservative free. The dry kibble is a complete dog food, scrumptiously tasty and very moreish – great to keep your older dog’s appetite up! The 340g bag is the perfect size to test out with your dog for just £3.29 and if they like it as much as we think they will, a 2kg bag is available for £13.99.
We hope that this guide to the best senior dog food will help you find the right food for your dog. You can browse our full range of senior dog food in our online store where there’s bound to be something that’s perfect. For any queries or recommendations you can contact us online or by phone on 01492 542662. For more information, you can always read our rankings for the best dry dog food.