Old Dogs: the Best Nutrition
Old dogs: how best to manage the aging process?
Knowing how to grow old is a masterpiece of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters within the great art of living; so said Henri Amiel. After passing the years together with our dog, a faithful and beloved partner for life, ensuring it lives its elderly years as best possible is our responsibility and, as the Swiss philosopher believed, requires knowledge and wisdom. Feeding elderly dogs is clearly a significant and extremely relevant aspect.
OMEGA3 AND ANTIOXIDANTS
As in every life-phase, it’s crucial to ensure that our dog enjoys a healthy diet consisting of clean and healthy ingredients, but during old age an abundance of Omega3 and the presence of natural antioxidants becomes even more important.
Omega3, abundantly present, for example, in fish oil, are essential fatty acids ensuring anti-inflammatory actions, controlled growth of cells (especially adipose cells) and elasticity. They also significantly reduce the risk of obesity and frequent and apparently unexplained damage to tissue elasticity (damaged cruciate ligaments, collateral ligaments or meniscus, dislocations, sprains, damaged intervertebral discs, birth difficulties). Their optimized balance with Omega6 is the basis of a healthy diet.
Antioxidants, present for example within botanicals, true health superheroes, delay cell aging and are another great ally during this stage of your dog's life.
AN INTEGRATED NUTRITIONAL PROGRAM
Furthermore, as they age, so dogs often tend to drink less. It’s thus particularly recommended to mix dry and wet food, optimizing water intake and better meeting the water needs while reducing the risk of urinary tract disorders. In this case it’s essential to implement an Integrated Nutritional Program, where dry food, wet food and treats are coordinated to complement each-other in complete synergy.
Elderly dogs don’t absorb all the active ingredients from the food as before, with the intestine no longer operating as well in achieving this. It is thus essential to optimize this process and allow the dog to absorb everything it needs, also because elderly dogs lose muscle mass more easily. The food must therefore be highly digestible.
BEWARE OF THE MOUTH AND TEETH
Another element requiring particular attention is tooth health, where tartar deposits could easily develop. As with puppies, this remains a delicate aspect concerning older dogs. It is essential to prevent this, and only if necessary should the Vet clean this away, as this requires a general anesthetic which is best avoided. Special snacks are available to clean the teeth and remove tartar, helping to maintain a hygienic oral cavity.
BEWARE OF OBESITY
As we age our metabolism slows down, so we must adjust the dosage to prevent obesity and keep the dog in good shape. The problems affecting overweight dogs are the same for people. Elderly dogs are more prone to diabetes, cancer, heart problems, pancreatitis, hernias and skeletal muscle problems, especially if the joints are overburdened. Obesity is also a vicious circle, because the heavier they get the less they move, the less they move the heavier they get. Close attention to doses and the type of food is therefore fundamental.
Do not be afraid if your dog develops white hair or the eye’s crystalline lens turns white due to nuclear sclerosis. Its hearing could gradually lose accuracy, as may its sense of smell, making it pickier. Don’t be discouraged and on the contrary, despite its age it is necessary to take the dog for walks, allowing it to live experiences, keeping it alive and active, especially mentally to not allow the onset of mental issues. A proper diet and sufficient movement are two great allies to slow down these processes and allow your life partner to age correctly.