When should dogs go on senior food?

Just like humans, when dogs age, their bodies will change and their diet may need to be altered to accommodate their new lifestyle and requirements. They’ll likely not be as active as when they were younger, they might lose their appetite and they may start to have health problems.
It’s important to monitor these changes and consider changing your dog’s food to give them some extra protection against the effects of ageing.

You’ll likely have heard about senior dog food, which is created specially for older dogs who may need extra support or nutrients to keep them healthy. If you’re considering switching your dog to senior food, or just want to know more about it, we’ve put together this article for you.

When should dogs go on senior food?

All dogs are different and so can age differently according to their breed, size, health and other factors. However, as a general rule, your dog will enter the senior stage of its life at around seven or eight years old.
At this age, your pet might be experiencing some internal changes even if they look the same on the outside. Their metabolism will start to slow down and they may get tired more easily, both of which may lead to them putting on some weight. In addition, their brain will become less efficient at metabolising glucose, which can lead to memory problems.
If you notice any of the following, it may mean your dog has entered their senior years:

  • Their coat loses its shine and becomes flaky
  • They become lethargic and tired more easily
  • They put on weight around their midsection
  • They have chronic flatulence or loose stools
  • They lose their appetite

However, if you do notice any of these signs, it’s always best to consult your vet first before changing their food, just in case your pup is unwell.

How much food should I feed my senior dog?

Older dogs can lose their appetite and are usually less active than younger dogs, so you may need to adjust their feeding portions to suit their senior life stage. We still recommended feeding them two meals a day, but if your pet starts to leave food in their bowl, you could move to the lower portion size recommended by your food provider.
If you switch to a special senior dog food, the recommended portions will be listed on the packaging.

How to change your dog’s food

When changing your dog’s food to one more suitable for senior pets, it’s important that this process happens gradually so your pet’s digestive system has time to adjust to the new change. Over a period of 7-10 days, start swapping out slightly bigger and bigger portions of your pet’s normal food and replacing it with their new food.
If at any point your dog is refusing to eat the food, then decrease the amount of the new food back to a level they will eat and stay at this for a few more days. You can then start to again decrease the quantity of the old food while introducing more of the new food once they’ve got used to it.

What is the best dog food for senior dogs?

Unless your dog is unusually active for their age, it’s a good idea to choose a food that has lower levels of fat and higher levels of protein than their usual food. This is because older dogs are more susceptible to weight gain, which can have a negative effect on their joints and cardiovascular system.
Food with higher levels of botanical oils has also been found to help improve alertness and mental sharpness in senior dogs, while omega fatty acids can promote joint health and mobility. A good level of antioxidants is also key to look out for, as they protect your dog’s immune system.

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senior dog food

Our Claude & Clarence senior dog food has been formulated to help support and strengthen your dog in their golden years.