Tips From A Tampa, FL Vet for Feeding an Older Dog

Is your dog officially a furry senior? your canine pal will go through some changes as he gets older, but he’ll still be pretty enthusiastic about food. However, his dietary requirements are going to change over time. you might have to make some changes to his diet. Continue reading for suggestions from a local Tampa, FL veterinarian on feeding a senior dog.

When Are Dogs Considered Mature Or Senior? 

This varies from breed to breed, primarily due to Fido’s size. Large dogs age faster than little ones. Some large breeds can be seniors at five years old, whereas a toy breed may not reach his golden years until he is ten or older. 

There are a few guidelines to follow here. Fido will be regarded as mature when he reaches halfway through his typical life expectancy. When he completes 75% of it, he will be a senior. Geriatric puppies are those that live longer than predicted.

Your vet will be able to advise you on when to make the switch to a senior formula food. You’ll want to make this change gradually, over several days. Otherwise, you risk upsetting Fido’s fuzzy belly!

Give Fido Plenty of Water

Keeping your canine buddy properly hydrated is critical no matter how old he is! You may want to consider purchasing a fountain or a smart waterer. If you have a large house with multiple floors, set out additional water bowls.

Adjust Your Older Dog’s Meal Schedule If Needed

People often wonder how often elderly dogs should be fed. Fido may very well benefit from receiving more frequent, yet smaller, meals. You may need to divide your pup’s meals into two or five daily servings. However, every pooch is different, so consult your veterinarian and get some specific advice.

Pay Attention To Fido’s Portion Sizes

It’s important not to overfeed your canine bff. Obesity is a huge issue (literally) with our canine companions. You might have to measure your furry buddy’s food to ensure that he receives the exact number of calories he requires. 

As far as how much Fido should eat, that is heavily dependent on his size and the kind of food he is eating. Check the instructions on the packaging. You may also find charts on the websites of many pet food companies. However, these vary from site to site and frequently overestimate caloric requirements. 

Many dogs need fewer calories as they age. In general, the rule of thumb is to lower a senior’s caloric intake by 20 to 30 percent. However, that isn’t universal. In fact, Fido’s calorie requirements may actually increase as he grows older! 

Weather might also be a factor: dogs with thin fur often require extra food in cold conditions. Of course, your veterinarian should be the final authority in this matter.

Consider Giving Fido Supplements

There are numerous vitamins and supplements available for older dogs, including multivitamins, antioxidants, amino and fatty acids, prebiotics, and probiotics. All offer different advantages. Before adding supplements, check your veterinarian. When starting something new, keep an eye out for any reactions.

Offer Your Senior Dog Suitable Snacks

Fido will never outgrow his love of treats!  Just be careful: many of the goodies available in stores are rich in calories and fat, with little nutritional value. Choose healthy products, or even create your own. Just stick with healthy, safe ingredients.

Incorporate Safe, Vet-Approved Fruits And Vegetables

Fido may be classified as a Carnivora, but he is not a true carnivore. Though Man’s Best Buddy eats more meat than anything else, he is technically omnivorous, and will benefit from eating fruits and vegetables. You can serve your pooch things like carrot sticks, peas, pureed pumpkin, spinach, dried sweet potato slices, apple slices, and even bananas. Just double-check before offering anything to make sure it’s safe. Never give a canine avocado, grapes, raisins, or onions: these fruits and veggies are toxic to him. Ask your Tampa, FL veterinarian for more info on this.  

Selecting the Right Senior Dog Food

Pet food has evolved well beyond the simple kibble; you can now get food formulated specifically for older doggies. There are some excellent options available, and they do not have to be prohibitively expensive.  

Dog food formulated for senior dogs may be lower in calories, which can assist prevent weight gain. You may also come across foods designed to treat specific conditions, such as joint support solutions, kidney-support formulas or weight loss ones. The biggest thing is to pick something that gives Fido the right balance of fat, protein, and nutrients.

You will also have to select whether to feed your older dog wet or dry food. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Consider Fido’s preferences, health needs, and any dental or dietary difficulties he may have. 

It’s worth noting that many pups prefer moist food. Canned food is also gentler on pets with dental problems. However, dry food may be more effective for keeping your furry buddy’s teeth clean. It’s also cheaper and lasts longer. You can also give Fido a mixed meal or add water to his kibble.

Ask your veterinarian to provide specific advice.

Keep Up With Your Senior Dog’s Dental Care

Dental problems are fairly common in elderly dogs, and can significantly affect your furry buddy’s eating habits. Brush Fido’s teeth and/or give him dental snacks and chews to help keep those choppers clean. If you spot anything that seems awry, please contact your veterinarian.

Serve Your Pet’s Food At The Correct Temperature

In general, we recommend providing Fido’s meals at room temperature. If you keep pet food in the fridge, take it out an hour before feeding your canine friend to allow it to warm up.If you microwave anything, check to make sure it is not too hot.

Give Fido A Quiet Dining Spot

This one is somewhat dependent on the size and layout of your home, as well as the number of dogs you own. If Fido is the only pooch, place his bowls in the kitchen or wherever it is most convenient. However, if you have several dogs, mealtimes may get chaotic. You may wish to feed older pups in a separate area. Fido needs to be able to dine comfortably, without his roommates jostling him or taking his supper.

Consider Getting Different Doggy Dishes

Ask your veterinarian for specific advice on selecting Fido’s bowls. An elevated dish may allow your pet to eat more comfortably by reducing the need for him to splay his feet or lower his neck. However, there is a concern of bloat with these dishes, especially with larger dogs.

Don’t Overfeed Your Pup

Fido will never lose his love of eating. As he gets older, he will slow down, just like everyone else. Your canine companion will not be as fast as he once was, and he may prefer to watch the squirrels that live in the yard rather than chase them. All of this means that your pooch will be expending less calories than he used to. This can lead to a bit of a downward spiral in terms of activity and obesity. Fido will have a more difficult time staying fit as he gains weight, but he will gain weight as his fitness level declines … 

Pay special attention to your furry pal’s physical condition, and nip any gain in the bud!  

Get Specific Advice From Your Tampa, FL  Veterinarian

Nothing beats customized care recommendations! Make sure Fido visits your animal clinic regularly! 

Conclusion: Your dog’s nutritional requirements will vary throughout time. As your pet ages, you may need to make some adjustments, such as switching to senior food, adding supplements, and altering meal timings. Consult your veterinarian for specialized guidance on feeding a senior dog.

Do you have concerns regarding the wellbeing or upkeep of your dog? Contact your Tampa, FL pet hospital today!

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