As dog owners, we can support our pups’ continued health and happiness through their diet. The best senior dog food will be life-stage appropriate to account for declines in energy and appetite. This guide explores younger and older dogs’ diets and how nutritional needs change over time. Keep reading for Our Top 3 Ingredients in the Best Senior Dog Food!
What are the health priorities for younger dogs?
- Puppies need a balanced diet, complete with plenty of protein in order to grow.
- Dog food for puppies typically has a special growth formula, which differs from an adult maintenance formula, because it contains greater amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, calories, etc.
- Puppies require more water per day than adult dogs.
- Older dogs’ diets should be complemented with proper hydration, which means about a half ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.
- Puppies need about a half cup of water every couple of hours.
- Dehydration can occur when dogs do not drink enough water and do not get a sufficient amount of water from other sources (i.e. wet foods or fruits and vegetables).
- Over-hydration is also possible, especially in the summer months when your dog laps up too much water when they’re eager to cool off.
- In an upcoming post, we’ll discuss the special taste buds dogs have for water!
- Dogs should always eat organic and minimally processed foods, and this should start at a young age!
- For the first several months after our founder adopted his puppy Katie, she suffered from vomiting, loose stools, and itchy skin. Yitto Paws’ mission to create human grade, organic dog treats began in our founder’s quest to solve Katie’s ailments through diet changes.
- It worked! An organic, clean-protein, oat-based diet helped Katie feel strong and healthy!
- Since then, Yitto Paws has maintained the commitment to Put Dogs First with clean and nutritious food.
How do you choose the best senior dog food?
- Just like in humans, dogs’ metabolisms slow down as they age, therefore, adult dogs may require fewer calories than younger dogs.
- It is important to adjust the calories and fat content of your dog’s diet as they enter different life stages in order to maintain a healthy weight.
- Once a dog becomes very old, the need for calories increases again because older dogs typically have a decreased appetite.
- Likewise, the best senior dog food should be rich in protein to maintain and support the muscle mass of older dogs.
- Muscles have a function in immunity.
- Researches have found that when muscle mass declines (from chronic infection, disease, or injury) immune strength declines at the same time.
- Dogs will be more resilient in fighting infections if they have more muscle mass because the precursors of T cells, a type of white blood cell that is essential in the immune system, can migrate from skeletal muscle and develop into functional T cells.
Our Top 3 Ingredients in the Best Senior Dog Food:
- Pumpkin, like many dog-friendly fruits and vegetables, is considered a superfood full of vitamins and minerals!
- The benefits of feeding dogs pumpkin include boosting their immune systems, preventing free radical damage, increasing hydration, protecting skin and eye health, reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, etc.
- An added bonus of including pumpkin in older dogs’ diets includes the fact that pumpkin puree is a soft food and won’t hurt sensitive teeth and gums. Read our full pumpkin post for more information on feeding dogs pumpkin!
- Blueberries are another dog-friendly superfood! Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals.
- A study, Antioxidants in the Canine Model of Human Aging, looked at the impact of antioxidants on aging dogs to make predictions about the benefits to human brain aging Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that a diet rich in antioxidants led to significant benefits to the improvement and maintenance of cognitive function in the treated animals, as well as the reduction of oxidative damage.
- This means blueberries are especially important in older dogs’ diets to support brain health!
- Read all about the benefits of blueberries in our next blog post: Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?
- Oats make our list for best senior dog food ingredients and they are one of the best foods for dogs of any age to support their overall health. This is why you can find oats on the ingredient list in all Yitto Paws treats!
- As mentioned above, an oat-based diet, one that is balanced with vegetables and simple protein, can make a huge difference in your dog’s long-term health.
- Some of the potential health benefits of oats for dogs include:
- Supplying fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Helping lower blood pressure with avenanthramide, a plant-based polyphenol that is also known to be anti-inflammatory and anti-itching
- Providing a rich source of healthy fats and proteins
- Supporting heart health with beta-glucan, which can lower bad cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels
- Maintaining a healthy body weight because oats are low in calories and fat but still satisfy dogs’ appetites
- Improving gut health as a source of prebiotic fiber
How can you share these foods with your dog?
The Top 3 Ingredients in the Best Senior Dog Food can be shared on their own, or combined to make delicious, nutritious homemade treats!
As always, make sure to buy organic ingredients! It is incredibly important to buy organic blueberries because conventional blueberries contain a high level of pesticides, which may seep into the fruit’s thin flesh.
Ideas and Recipes:
- Fresh blueberries are small and soft enough to give to your dog as a treat. You can also try our founder’s recipes, Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats with Blueberries and Blueberry Banana Frozen Dog Treat, which use other nutritious ingredients such as oats, peanut butter, and plain yogurt. Short on time? Grab Yitto Paws Granola Bites with blueberries and peanut butter!
- Feed your dog homemade “baby food!”
- Pureed dog food is a great option in older dogs’ diets because these dogs may have developed sensitive gums and weak appetites.
- Try feeding your dog a few spoonfuls of pureed pumpkin or adding it into their dry food!