Human beings have been living with their dogs since the time we first began to domesticate wild wolves. They are our companions, our protectors, and – thanks to our ongoing partnership – our dogs are living longer. Improved diet, vaccinations and veterinary care all add to greater longevity and increased quality of life. However, the same diet that gives your dog the energy and nutrition it needs to grow and develop as a puppy, can become a detriment as your pet reaches its later years.
Generally speaking, your dog will begin to undergo significant physiological changes as it enters the last third of its normal life expectancy. This spectrum of changes can include: arthritis, cognitive issues, restless sleep, incontinence, vision and hearing loss, loss of muscle mass, weight gain and/or weight loss. All of these conditions should be addressed by your veterinarian, and many of them can be improved – if not corrected – through changes in diet and the addition of dietary supplements to your pet’s regimen.
As your dog ages, one of the main health challenges it will face will be the tendency to gain weight. Just like their human counterparts, a dog’s metabolism slows as it ages. Issues with joints and loss of muscularity also contribute to a decrease in physical activity as your dog becomes older. Most dogs need a relatively rich diet when they are young, but once they begin to slow down, what was once a healthy meal can become a dangerous threat.
When picking out food for an aging dog, it’s important to reduce fat and calories, while also increasing fiber intake. These modifications will keep your dog happy and full without packing on the pounds. Lucky for dog owners, there are now plenty of great options to choose from. Origen is a great example of an all-natural, kibble formula that specifically addresses the nutritional needs of older dogs.
While certain dog food products may prevent unwanted weight gain, others can address the arthritis and joint degeneration issues that typically plague aging canines. One great way to help your pet maximize its mobility through the years, is by rewarding it with yummy, joint-friendly treats. Dogswell Chicken Happy Hips are a delicious snack that contains glucosamine and chondroiton, the same supplements that happy dog owners may be using for their own arthritis and joint pain. These snacks compliment an older dog’s lean, healthy diet, while delivering additional nutrition to keep it playing like a puppy well into its later years.
In addition to dietary changes and the healthy benefits of an active lifestyle, your dog may require additional supplements to maximize energy and fitness, while staving off the deleterious effects of getting older. Once again, you and your best friend may have more in common than you realize. Like most people who adopt a multivitamin regimen as they age, your dog can benefit tremendously from the additional nutrition that supplements can offer.
There is a wide range of supplementary products for pets on the market, and some of them are specifically formulated to address specific conditions your older dog may be facing in its advancing years. Again, you should take the issue of supplements up with your veterinarian, but it is likely that you will be instructed to enhance your pet’s diet with additional supplements to help your dog maintain some the functions it may be loosing as it ages. Products like Prozyme Diet Supplements replace the digestive enzymes older dogs don’t produce enough of. By helping your dog to digest more efficiently, it will eat less and be more likely to maintain a healthy weight. Other products – like Solid Gold Flaxseed Oil – can protect against a number of degenerative conditions while also helping to maximize your dog’s immune system.
With a little homework and the advice of your vet, you can keep your aging dog healthy and happy, and make sure you and your best friend have a lot more great times together!