As your dog ages, it is important to take steps to keep her healthy. Here's what you need to know:
To determine your dog’s age, veterinarians will focus on her physiological condition. (Forget the adage about multiplying her age by seven.) They find that small and medium breeds begin to show signs of aging at about 7 years; large and giant breeds show signs of aging at about 5 years. Telltale signs may include a dull or dry coat, flaky skin, joint stiffness, energy loss, weight gain, increased water intake, digestive problems, frequent constipation, and loss of muscle. These may signal the body's inability to rejuvenate its cells.
While genetics and the dog's environment play a large role in how quickly she'll age, her health is also up to you. This includes feeding her a high-quality premium dog food such as Eukanuba® Senior Maintenance Formula. Good nutrition can help your older dog:
Regardless of their age, all dogs need quality food. But as they get older, certain nutrients can be enhanced to promote health. When shopping for food to care for your senior dog, look for:
As dogs age, they may become less interested in eating. They might not be burning the same amount of energy, so their appetite decreases. Or they're suffering from gum disease or have loose teeth, making it uncomfortable or painful to chew. (Learn more by reading Why Is Dental Hygiene For Your Dog So Important?) If they’re eating less food, they may not be getting the nutrition their bodies need for healthy living. That’s why it is key to find a nutrient-packed formula that your dog enjoys. At Eukanuba®, we've done extensive research with real dogs to see what they like to eat, and we've come up with an aroma, taste, and texture they love. We’ve been careful, too, to use only natural flavor enhancers and colors, so you’re assured your dog is getting our very best—and nothing more.
Because aging dogs generally eat less than their younger canine friends, it could be helpful to provide two or three meals each day. Try a morning/evening schedule or a traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That way, the food in the dish isn't so overwhelming, and it’s fresher and more appealing. Timed feedings have the added benefit of increasing your dog’s metabolism, which will help her maintain her ideal weight.
While the calendar might say that your dog is ready for retirement, her body needn’t be. By feeding her a diet of premium dog food specially formulated for her age, you’ll help keep her active, healthy, and happy.