When is it time to switch a dog to senior food? I’m having a weight problem with my dog. My Rat Terrier Pepper is about 9 years old and about 23 lbs. She’s starting to show her age now with the gray muzzle like she just ate a dozen powdered donuts:) She’s less active nowadays all she wants to do is relax on her bed or the couch, we tried to get her to run and play and she would for a little while then lose interest and go back to her bed,we also take her for walks and to the dog park to get some exercise. I’m guessing her metabolism and energy has slowed down as she’s getting older. She had lump removal surgery a couple months ago which turned out to be non cancerous, After the surgery the vet told us that Pepper is pretty healthy but she could afford to lose a few pounds which we already knew of course. We feed Pepper Wellness supermix dry food for small breed adults and gave her the feeding requirement it said on the bag which was 1.5 a day and we split it into two meals, and our vet suggested we feed her less than what the requirement says. I tried out the dog food calculator and it said to feed about one cup a day so we’ve been giving her that requirement for a couple of months and she still hasn’t lost any weight. I don’t know whether to feed her even less than what I’m giving now or switch to senior dog food. She does drink alot of water which is a good thing.
My almost 12 year old JRT is eating All Life Stages food and I wouldn’t switch to senior food ever. I’m not saying Wellness is this way, because I think they are one of the better senior foods, but most senior foods cut back on protein just when dogs start not absorbing all the protein from their food so may actually need more high quality protein in their diet than they did when they were younger.
If I were you, I would cut her food back a bit more and work at making her more active. Carrying the extra weight is probably part of why she doesn’t feel like doing much. Her joints are probably starting to hurt. Maybe use some of her food to start doing some trick training or something else that would get her moving.
If your Rat Terrier is not all that active, i.e. couch potato like my Cavs, then I would definitely cut back on the food. Wellness is a brand I like a lot, myself. I don’t feed their kibble right now (due to its size and chicken in most), but I use their canned food almost everyday and also use their treats. Anyway, I have 3 small dogs. Two Cavaliers and one Mixed Breed. Lucy, my Mixed Breed, has always been 24-25 lbs., no deviation in all of her 12.5 years. She gets 1/3 c. of kibble in the a.m. and 1/3 c. in the p.m. She is not active….chases squirrels at times lol, but that’s about it. She does get about 1-2 tblsp. canned food added to the kibble at each meal. I use to give more treats than I do now, but recently have been giving either a Wellness Lamb grain free biscuit or Wellness Pure Reward treat in the morning and at night before bed. If they get anything else during the day it’s just their kibble (which they think is a treat lol)…maybe 3-4 pieces of it. So, long story short hahahaha……I would definitely cut down on your dog’s food. Btw, my Cavs weigh 17 lbs. and 19 lbs. and they each get 1/4 c. kibble a.m. and 1/4 c. p.m. with 1-2 tblsps. canned added. They are definitely couch potatoes, except when they’re doing their Therapy Dog work.
I also wanted to add that my dogs are 6 yrs., 8 yrs., 12 yrs. and have never eaten a senior food. They usually get an all-life-stage food. I am using Fromm 4Star Salmon a la Veg and Mulligan Stew right now.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by Mom2Cavs.
I have read that grainfree is best for dogs with arthritis, which your senior aged dog probably has. (Grains are inflammatory). That being said, Wellness Core reduced fat is a good, grainfree food that I used for an obese dog we adopted.
Thank you for the suggestions:) I don’t think she’s having any joint/Arthritis problems.She doesn’t seem to be in any pain and she runs, jumps, and moves around just like a normal healthy dog. I think maybe it’s the extra weight that causing her couch potato behavior. Maybe she’s eating more calories than she’s burning off. I thought now that she’s getting older maybe the food that I feed her might be too much for her. She also had problems with her anal sacs so we make sure we express them once or twice a month. Our vet suggested that she might need more fiber in her diet and to try sprinkling some metamucil on her food.
Wellness is a good brand…I wouldn’t really worry much about looking for a food intended just for seniors, unless she is really needing some extra joint support/etc. It doesn’t really sound like she is.
First off, please don’t go by what the food bag feeding guidelines say…they are ALWAYS way too much! Not a single one of my dogs has EVER eaten the amount the bag requires… Usually my dogs are completely fine w eating about HALF of what the bag says, no lie. (One of our older dogs started gaining a little when she was eating half of what the bag said…we cut back even a little more, and her energy/weight is back to 100% normal.) I’d definitely start reducing the amount of food… It’s still good to do 2 meals though. Maybe start with a normal breakfast, then cutting her dinner in half. After a week or two, try cutting both breakfast and dinner in half, then see how her weight is doing.
Also be sure to not hand out too many treats, or you’re just encouraging the weight to stay on. My dogs get treats all the time, but I just break off teeny tiny pieces – they can’t tell the difference between a big treat or a little one, it’s still something that tastes good.
Best wishes! Hopefully you can get her weight down at least a little 🙂 I’ve never really had to deal w overweight dogs yet, as I always make sure to simply prevent it from happening. I’m sure an owner as great as you will have no problem though ;D
Thanks! @ Shasta220..I just gave her dinner and I reduced the amount I usually give her. When I placed her bowl down she gave me that look like hey what gives! Haha I must resist those cute puppy eyes she gives me to trick me into giving her more food. She’s adorable, but her health is more important to me:) Right now she’s sitting at 23 lbs not too overweight so I’m trying to get her to shed at least 3 or 4 pounds at least.
Ah yes, those puppy eyes are difficult to resist! (I take advantage of them w my Kelpie/Aussie. I pour the kibble into his bowl, then he has to sit down and look at me w that adorable face…then I give him the okay, and he is allowed to eat, LOL!) Just keep reminding yourself that she’ll be happier in the long run 😉 I’m not sure what her “healthy” weight would be. If you can easily feel her ribs, see her tummy tuck up from the side-view, and see a fairly slim waist right above the hips (top view), then the weight is perfect. 🙂 also remember, when her weight is down where you want it – I don’t advise feeding more. Keep feeding the same minimal amount to help keep those pudgies away!
I checked to feel her ribs and I can feel them but not so much. From the top view she kinda has some extra meat around the hip area like doggy love handles and from the side view she has a curve, but her tummy hangs a little.She’s kinda barrel shaped. Rat terriers are strong muscular shaped dogs and they suppose to be very active, These dogs are used for hunting as well.
It definitely sounds like she’s on the pudgy side 😉 Maybe looking up pictures/info on Rat Terriers, so you can get a good idea on what she should look like. Be sure to keep up the good work on getting her active…another way that might help stimulate her might be to not put her food in a bowl. Instead, put it in brain-teasing toys or have her do tricks to earn it. 🙂
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