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  • #160713 Report Abuse
    Meleasa C

    I have three littles, two are Shih Tzu and one is Shih Tzu and Bichon mix. They are all seniors at ages 9 and 10. I’ve been feeding them a small breed dog food for many years, but am wondering if I should switch them to a Senior formula. Any thoughts on which way I should lean, small breed versus senior? Thanks!

    #160786 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Melissa I don’t believe there is a difference in ingredients if a brand says small breed. It is probably just the size of the kibble and nothing should be different in the same flavor/protein of the same brand which doesn’t have small breed on the label. Large breed puppy food I believe would be an exception since large breed puppies have very different nutritional needs then non large breed puppies.
    When it comes to senior foods I don’t believe it’s necessary to switch foods. It depends on you dog as stated in this article. If you have a vet check with blood work and your dogs are in good health then no reason to switch their food. Also there is nothing wrong with giving your senior dogs some REAL food at times. That being boiled white meat chicken, string beans, lean steak , watermelon . I’m sure they will enjoy this at their age. Hopes this helps.
    Manufacturers “might be increasing protein, decreasing protein or keeping it the same,” Freeman said. “That emphasizes to us to look at the individual animal, and not all aging animals need a different diet. It’s much, much more important to look at individual dogs.”
    Respondents tended to assume that senior dog foods were lower in calories, yet this actually varied from 246 to 408 calories a cup. Not all dogs gain weight as they age, some gain weight and some stay the same, Freeman said. Survey respondents also tended to assume that senior diets had less fat, protein and sodium. But, this was also not necessarily the case, with much variation among individual petfood brands, Freeman found.

    “The study highlights the diversity among dogs and, consequently, dog food products. Each dog is unique and has distinct needs,” said Kurt Gallagher, a spokesman for the Pet Food Institute.”Attaining senior status depends on several factors, including the breed and weight of the dog. The differing nutritional needs of dogs are exemplified by the variance in the amount of protein senior dogs should consume.”

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by Patricia A.
    #161761 Report Abuse

    Meleasa, I understand your struggle trying to figure out what’s best for your little seniors. I’ve been there myself… and I know how exhausting it is to be constantly worrying about the right choices that support our fur baby’s well-being.

    Both terms “Senior” and “Small Breed” are marketing terms the pet food industry uses to sell more junk food 🙁 My Shit-tzu looking little one is also 9.5 y/o. I stopped feeding him kibble & canned food many years ago when I learned about the dangers of these processed diets. I encourage you to watch the documentary “Pet Fooled” on Netflix to learn about the truth and how kibble is made.

    Luckily, there are a few amazing holistic and integrative vets educating dog lovers online about the importance of fresh food diets and the essential nutrients dogs need. My personal favourite is Dr. Peter Dobias. He has created a free Natural Diet Course which contains videos and articles full of information on this subject;

    https://peterdobias.com/pages/course-rawdiet – It’s super helpful to learn the basics!

    He also has an online Recipe Maker, which will help you build healthy meals for your dogs with the ingredients you have available. It provides guidance on amounts of each ingredient and which ingredients are best;


    The key is to offer a variety of both proteins and vegetables, and add essential nutrients to help fill in any deficiencies;

    Dog Essentials

    I’m so happy we switched from processed food to home-made. It takes some time to learn the principles but it is so worth your energy investment because you will be saving a lot of money on future vet bills. I hope these free resources will be helpful for your pups and you get to enjoy many more happy and health years together! 🙂

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