I have a total of 4 dogs to feed at my house. Two are mine, 7 & 8 years old, large breed.
Two are grandpups, both 6 medium sized.
When should I begin feeding senior food? I am trying to reduce the weight of all 4 in addition to trying to find a “poop” free dog food…you know, less to pick up…
Any suggestions? I currently feed all of the Diamond Naturals Beef and Rice. Would love to stay in the $30-35 range if possible. They eat 40 pounds about every 3 weeks, feeding them according to their weight.
You may find some helpful tips here, in General Guidelines: http://www.homeovet.net/dynamic/php/downloads/dog-c8470f2c75dbe4b683205c3919ee2310/dog_diet_complete.pdf
Age 7 is considered senior for a dog, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a geriatric workup done, lab work etc. See what your vet recommends….. otherwise, one or two feedings per day, long walks, an occasional snack (just a bite), should do the trick.
Adequate elimination, one or two bowel movements a day, are a good thing. Constipation would be more problematic. Also, make sure they are getting enough water, as dogs get older they are more vulnerable to bladder stones.
The best scenario is to offer a bathroom break at least every 4 hours (minimum).
I agree with Red in that many dogs are considered senior at 7 and it is always a good idea to run a complete blood panel, urinalysis, and a thorough checkup at that age, if you haven’t done it before. I run these on my dogs every year regardless of their age. He is also correct about the water, but really all dogs should be getting some fresh or canned food mixed in kibble to help keep them properly hydrated. At the very least, add warm water to the kibble to ensure that they are getting more water in their system. Exercise is very important for senior and all dogs as well.
I have had many dogs in my life and currently have several. I never feed them a “senior” dog food, even at almost 15 years of age (large breed). I have a nearly 11 year old dog Lab who has stellar panels and is very active with a daily 2 mile rigorous walk. She eats a combination of canned/moistened kibble and raw or fresh food daily. They all eat that combination. The biggest concern when they are older is to keep any extra weight off and that they aren’t having any health issues that diet would need to address. Senior dog food is really marketing. If you looked at all the senior dog formulas on the market you would find they vary all over the place in protein levels, fat and fiber. As senior dogs age, they metabolize protein less efficiently, so if you choose one that is lowering the protein, you would actually accelerate the reduction in muscle mass.
Keeping the weight off is very important and feeding a better food that doesn’t contain fillers will reduce the poop factor. You also need to feed them according to their “ideal” weight (not their current if they are overweight) and activity level. I feed slightly less than the recommended feeding guides on almost all foods. Even thought my dogs get daily brisk walks, I still consider their activity level “typical” on the DFA calculator. You need to count any treat calories in that daily total. You also need to get an accurate measuring cup for feeding.
Here’s the link to the DFA calculator:
I second what C4D said and unforunatly the only senior food I’d recommend (kibble wise) is around 80$ a bag and thats Orijen Senior.
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