Tips For Feeding Your Aging Pet
It’s hard for me to believe that Bella, my mini-Labradoodle is going to be nine years old this November. There are a number of things to keep in mind when taking care of an aging pet. Diet and exercise are key. It’s important to feed them a balanced diet. Just like their two-legged counterparts, their physical and mental needs change as they age and the proper nutrition is vital to keeping your senior pet happy and healthy.
There are also other factors that could be keeping your dog from enjoying their senior years. If you begin to see subtle changes in their behavior speak with your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems and discuss a course of action including diet and exercise that suits your pet’s age.
Watch what your dog eats. Keep him lean and mean. There have been studies showing that dogs that were fed a restricted diet lived longer than those who were fed freely. If the damage is already done, simple adjustments might be all they need. Instead of keeping the chow out all the time put them on a feeding schedule, 3 to 4 small portions throughout the day. Avoid too many treats and never feed them table scraps regardless of their weight. If you’re not seeing results from those minor tweaks talk to your vet to rule out any medical conditions that may be causing the weight problem and strategize a weight reduction program that suits your dog’s needs.
Choosing the right dog food can be daunting. Let’s face it — there are a plethora of products out there. Researchers have developed special therapeutic diets that can help manage a variety of disorders in dogs such as arthritis, kidney and heart problems. Monitor their daily water intake keeping fresh water readily available to keep them hydrated. Kidney disease and diabetes can make your dog drink excessively. Keep an eye out for changes in their water consumption.
Another key element to keeping your senior dog physically and mentally active is exercise. Ask your vet what they deem appropriate for your dog’s age and breed.
All these components, together with your love, affection and regular veterinarian visits, should aid in keeping your beloved Fido with you for a very long time.