Best Food For Senior Dogs: Aging Dog Nutrition Explained
written by Tori Holmes
It’s well known that nutrition plays a big role in a puppy’s health, but it’s often forgotten that these early months aren’t the only stage of a dog’s life where they have special nutritional needs. Senior dogs also need a diet that supports their aging bodies, which is why we want to help you find the best food for senior dogs.
What should you look for when choosing the best food for senior dogs?
Senior dogs have different nutritional needs compared to their younger counterparts. Knowing this, the best food for senior dogs is one that provides them with the nutrients necessary to help them live a happy, healthy life. But what exactly should you look for when choosing food for your senior dog?
- Fatty acids: Omega-6 fatty acids are great at promoting healthy cell growth, adding shine to coats, and replacing oils in the skin, whereas omega-3 fatty acids treat inflammation in the skin and joints.
- High-quality protein: Senior dogs need their diet to contain plenty of high-quality protein to fuel their muscles, as loss of muscle mass is a common problem in older dogs.
- Higher levels of vitamins C and E: Senior pups can benefit from higher levels of vitamin C, as it reduces inflammation, and vitamin E, which promotes a healthy immune system, skin, coat, and more.
- Fiber: Constipation is a common issue with senior dogs, so a diet that is high in fiber can help keep them regular.
- Antioxidants: Adding antioxidants to your senior dog’s daily diet helps to improve memory and cognitive function.
- High moisture content: Senior dogs are also more likely to be dehydrated throughout the day, so increasing their water intake is a great way to decrease age-related changes.
It may seem daunting to take all of these nutrition requirements into consideration when choosing the best food for senior dogs, but this is why it’s beneficial to make the switch to Freshpet. Each Freshpet recipe is crafted with high-quality ingredients and gently steamed at low temperatures to protect the integrity of the ingredients. This ensures it’s packed with essential micronutrients only found in fresh food.
small, old black dog laying on grass licking its lips
How important is hydration for senior dogs?
Proper hydration is important at all stages of your dog’s life, but it is especially important during their senior years as they become more prone to dehydration. Specifically, hydration plays a big role in maintaining healthy:
- Joints: Proper hydration levels ensure that your pet’s joints are properly lubricated and can move without pain or stiffness.
- Digestion: Water helps keep your pup’s overall digestive system running smoothly and helps with the absorption of nutrients from their food.
- Senses: Water also plays a role in keeping your dog’s mucous membranes moist, so they can smell and taste properly.
- Cognition: Not only does water cushion and protect your dog’s brain and spinal cord, it impacts their overall cognition. If dogs don’t consume enough water they can show symptoms of confusion and lack of coordination.
- Skin, coat, and nails: Without proper hydration, your dog’s skin, coat, and nails can become dry and brittle which is not only uncomfortable but can result in issues such as fur loss.
An easy way to help increase your pup’s overall hydration is making a switch to fresh food. Freshpet’s refrigerated food is the best food for senior dogs because it is high in animal protein. You can expect each recipe to have the same moisture content as fresh, human-grade meats which is between 70-75% moisture.
Keeping an eye on your senior dog’s overall water intake can also give you an early warning of potential health concerns. For example, if you notice your dog is suddenly drinking much more water than usual, this could indicate issues such as kidney failure, and diabetes mellitus.
Which Freshpet recipes make the best food for senior dogs?
Every Freshpet recipe is crafted with ingredients that ensure your dog gets all of the nutrients they need during their senior years. So when it comes to deciding which Freshpet recipe is the best food for senior dogs, it comes down to your pup’s preferences.
Currently, Freshpet offers three distinct recipe formats:
- Bagged meals: Our fully cooked and ready-to-serve bagged meals contain ground protein with a vitamin-rich assortment of fruits and veggies.
- Rolls: Our classic slice-and-serve rolls can be served as discs, blocks, or mashed.
- Patties and Mixers: Our Patties can be served cut up, broken apart, or shredded either on their own or with a complementing Mixer.
No one format is better than the other for senior dogs – it all comes down to which texture and flavors your dog prefers.
If you’re not sure where to start, our Freshpet vet, Dr. Aziza, suggests trying Freshpet® Select Fresh from the Kitchen™ Home Cooked Chicken recipe as it has a high moisture content, antioxidant-rich cranberries, and high-quality protein that is a healthy dog food option for senior dogs.
Alternatively, you could consider a recipe where one of the primary proteins is salmon, such as the Freshpet® Select Multi-Protein Complete meal with Chicken, Beef, Egg, and Salmon recipe. Salmon is high in vitamin E, which can be beneficial for senior dogs to have in slightly higher amounts than younger dogs.
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