Every age in the life of the dog brings different things. The young puppy learns how to run, bark and grows rapidly. This means that the food you should feed a young puppy needs to be rich in protein, fats and especially rich in energy-rich carbohydrates.
But when a dog reaches a certain age, their metabolism starts to change. After that certain age, which is about seven for large dog breeds and about nine for small dog breeds, there are noticeable changes that affect the mood, happiness of playfulness of the dog.
This can be helped by feeding your dog according to its age and dietary needs. As a responsible pet parent, you should be aware of the benefits of this kind of feeding style.
You can, of course, continue to feed the regular food you have always given your dog, but there may be some unwanted effects, as we will explain below. So keep reading and learn all about the differences between the regular and senior dog food.
Regular dog food
The regular or adult dog food should be given to the dog when its body is fully developed. This means fully developed bones, muscles and personality. The adult dog has some different nutritional needs than a younger puppy, so the food that should be given should be age appropriate.
Composition of regular dog food
The regular dog food contains different meats, vegetables and fruits and whole grains. The specific composition depends on the individual recipes from different manufacturers, but there is a general recipe that covers basically every regular/adult dog food.
There is meat, usually chicken, lamb or beef, combined with a chicken meal or turkey meal for the protein part of the portion. There are different vegetables and fruits that have been prepared in a convenient manner that a dog can eat, like peas, potatoes, carrots, kelp, parsley, spinach, apples, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate etc.
There are also added grains that give the energy-based carbohydrate portion of the meal, whole grains like brown rice, barley or oats. These also contain fibre that helps with the digestion and regular bowel movements of the adult, active dog.
As all living things need fatty acids to live a normal life, the dogs also require the constant and proper intake of good fatty acids like omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. These are most abundant in several types of oils that are usually added to dog food like flaxseed oil or avocado oil and many different oils that differ depending on the manufacturer of the dog food.
Senior dog food
As the dog gets older, the body and bodily functions change. Some of the main functions start to lose its vitality and this is noticeable in the overall health and the way the dog acts. The mood can be significantly changed and the dog may even get bored, sad or depressed.
This can be greatly influenced by feeding your ageing mutt foods that are adequate to its age. Most of the pet food manufacturers have developed recipes especially aimed at the needs of the senior dogs.
After the dogs reach an age, the change in the metabolism usually makes them lose some appetite. This can be caused by a serious health issue and the dog must be taken to the vet to check the general health.
If a serious health issue is overruled, the mood of the dog can be helped by feeding the dog some high-quality food that will uplift the dog.
An older dog, depending on the breed, of course, is more prone to develop arthritis which can be very painful and uncomfortable. The senior dogs tend to lose the shine and lustre of their coat, or may even develop allergies to certain foods. All of this can be influenced by the food the dog is given.
Composition of senior dog food
The composition of the senior dog food products depends on the manufacturers, but there is a general recipe that usually covers the basic composition.
There is the meat chicken, lamb or beef, which makes the protein part of the meal. In the senior dog food, manufacturers avoid putting chicken or turkey meal, as this can cause digestion issues to the senior dogs. The protein-rich food helps the muscles and joints of the dogs, keeping them mobile and active.
There are essential fatty acids that are added to the food like flaxseed oil that contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids essential for the proper function of the organs, blood vessels, skin and coat.
The senior dog food usually contains a balanced mix of fruit and vegetables, combined with natural fibre-rich foods. Some of these are oatmeal, peas, alfalfa, garlic, parsley, apples, spinach, pumpkin and many others.
As the metabolism in the older dogs loses its maximum capacity, this can sometimes lead to improper mineral deposition meaning that the bones and teeth suffer. This is also covered by the senior dog food mixes, as most of them contain added minerals like calcium, zinc, manganese, iron and selenium.
Combined with the added vitamins these enable proper function of the enzymes in the organism, meaning that senior dog food can greatly improve the health of your dog.3
With older age, the dog does not need energy-rich food, so the senior dog food usually contains very little carbohydrates. Also, most manufacturers avoid pitting wheat, soy, corn or similar products in the senior dog food recipes as these may cause allergic reactions in some dogs.
To sum up
Every organism has different dietary needs at different stages of their lifecycle. This is no different for dogs. The young dog needs food that promotes growth.
The adult dog needs food that enables them enough energy for all their daily activities. The senior dog needs food that is properly balanced with the activities and health issues.
When you select a brand of dog food, you will need to consider your dog’s age and feeding habits. But, in the end, the dog itself will tell you whether they like the food or not.