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Rated 5 Stars By Over 3,500 Pet Owners

5 Tips on Transitioning Your Dog to Senior Food

DIET & EXERCISE

5 Tips on Transitioning Your Dog to Senior Food

February, 17 2022

It happens to all of us – we get older. And as we age, we have to make adjustments to our diet if we want our golden years to be active, pain-free and healthy. And dogs are no different than any other living creature.


But how do we know when it’s time to transition from “adult” dog food to “senior” dog food? Is it the gray muzzle? A slight limp? Fewer hours chasing after squirrels? There are no hard-and-fast rules, according to experts. There are a lot of factors including breed, size, weight, lifestyle and medical condition.


Here are five tips to help you determine when it’s time to make the switch:

Talk to Your Veterinarian



This is a no-brainer. When your dog begins to become less active or changes an established eating routine, it’s time to talk with your vet. Your dog may need a specific food to address a specific health issue. For example, if your dog has urinary tract issues, your vet may recommend special food to address the malady. Choosing the best food should be a decision based on your senior dog's specific needs, known health conditions, disease risk, and lifestyle. Your veterinarian is a key player in your dog's health and should be consulted when considering a dietary change. 

Size & Breed Matters



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.

Supplements Can Play a Big Role



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.

Read the Labels



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.

Transition Slowly 



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.


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