Most dogs are considered to be “mature adults” between 6 and 8 years old. In most cases, a dog older than 8 years is considered a “senior.” But since small dogs have a longer life expectancy than larger dogs, it takes a few more years for them to “graduate.” PetMD offers these general guidelines on when a dog is considered senior:
• Dogs up to 20 pounds: 10-12 years
• 21-50 pounds: 8-9 years
• 51-100 pounds: 6-7 years
• Over 100 pounds: 6 years
Once again, other variables include breed, activity level, lifestyle, etc. But it is important to keep watch for subtle changes as your dog ages.
Sometimes, changing the dog food is not as important as making sure your dog is getting the right amount of nutrients. For example, dogs that are experiencing digestive issues may need aProbiotic Tummy Treats. If your older dog has coat and skin issues, try ourOmega Health Chews. And our Multivitamin Chews are an excellent (and tasty!) way to make sure your furry friend is getting all it needs in six key areas: Digestion, hips & joints, immunity, skin & coat, heart, kidney & bladder.
Ignore all the cute commercials and marketing hype when you shop for your dog’s food. Companies spend millions of dollars trying to convince you that their brand is superior. Instead, check the ingredients list on the packaging label to see what is inside. High-quality protein sources should be one of the first ingredients listed, along with vegetables, fats and grains. As you transition from “adult” food to “senior” food, try to find similar ingredients so the change is not so harsh for your four-legged pal. If your dog enjoys the adult food you put in the doggie bowl, try that brand’s senior food.
After consulting with your vet (yes, Tip #1 is important), begin my mixing in the new food with the old food. Once you and your vet have selected the right diet for your senior dog, it’s important to make the transition gradually to their new food. Ideally, this should be done over 7-10 days or more, with a complete transition to the new food by 14 days. Each day, you can add more of the new food and remove more of the old food until the transition is complete. If digestive upset occurs (vomiting, diarrhea, or not eating), it’s best to stop the new diet and contact your vet.