how to get an old dog to eat

How to Get an Old Dog to Eat

how to get an old dog to eat

Many of you are dealing with a pup who has lost his appetite, and are struggling with how to get an old dog to eat. I know from my own experience how challenging and worrying that can be. Dementia, medications and some health issues can be blamed, and we’re left trying to figure out how to ensure our pets are getting the nutrients they require. 

Every day has become a “will she or won’t she” situation

Red has always loved her food, and that was evident in her 18lb body when she was first brought to the shelter. I should add she’s not meant to weigh more than 10!! Staff had to literally feed her in the bathroom, otherwise she how to get an old dog to eatwould eat all the other dogs’ food. The fact she was blind didn’t hinder her abilities one bit. Such a talented girl!!

Anyway, since the day we brought her home 8 1/2 years ago she’s been a vacuum cleaner – sucking up anything in her path. For years she ate with gusto, never knowing her to ever lose interest, so I knew if there ever came a time when she turned her nose up at food, she had a problem. 

Then the problems started…

Very long story short, she now has trouble eating because of dementia. I feed my dogs set meals, so it’s not like she has to find her way to her food bowls. I have always sat with her on the floor while she ate, and over the past couple of years I’ve been elevating her food and water bowls so she doesn’t have to stretch to reach.

I’m not quite sure if it’s her sense of smell that has changed, she can’t quite figure out what she’s supposed to do with the food or her mood changes. The truth is I think it’s all of the above separately, sometimes in combination. 

For a few months she was eating a whole foods home cooked diet, and she gobbled up every bite. She loved it and I thought she was doing well until test results showed high urea levels. The diet was created specifically for her kidney condition but unfortunately my regular vet recommended I go back to her prescription diet. I did and within two weeks her levels were back to normal, and since that was the only change I made…I don’t believe in coincidences! 

Here are the things that work for me because she won’t eat her food straight out of the can

I cut it into pieces and bake it. Not only do I use them for treats but also her meal when she won’t eat, and thankfully never turns her nose up at that.

When I give her food from the can I warm it for a few seconds in the microwave on a very low setting. 

I  hold the bowl quite close to her mouth because sometimes it takes her a few tries until she takes a bite.

Adding some human food helps at times – broccoli, cooked quinoa, cooked rice, raw apple, raw carrot, a bit of chicken. 

If I boil chicken for her I pour the “soup” into ice cube trays and freeze them, then defrost a cube as needed and add a little to her bowl. 

The importance of taking action  

Please, please don’t assume all changes in your dog’s behaviour are natural signs of aging. Often they indicate a problem, and something caught early has a better prognosis. In the case of a senior dog, especially one with health issues who won’t bounce back as quickly as  a younger or healthier dog might, it’s extremely important.  

If your dog is not eating or seems less enthusiastic than normal, I recommend you contact your vet. It doesn’t mean there’s a health problem, it could be the result of: 

  • Changes to your dog’s normal routine
  • Recently moving house 
  • The addition of a new family member (2 or 4 legged!!)
  • Eating something during a walk or outing that has caused an upset stomach

Reasons why a dog may suddenly lose interest in eating

  • Illness
  • Nausea due to illness, new medication or eating something he picked up outside
  • Dementia
  • Dental disease
  • Urinary tract infection
  • A consequence of aging when sense of smell and taste decline
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Changes in environment/living conditions/routine
  • Depression
  • Stiffness making it difficult to reach food and water bowls
  • Constipation

Dangers associated with loss of appetite

  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration – which is life threatening

Okay, so what’s the culprit?

As I mentioned a bit earlier, you may have an explanation for this loss of interest and things will settle down with or without medical intervention (depending on the reason). If you’ve wracked your brains and your vet can help you figure out why your senior dog is not eatingcan’t think of a possible explanation then…

During your appointment your vet will examine your dog (heart, temperature…) and ask when you first started noticing his lack of appetite, has something different been going on, any other behaviour changes you’ve noticed and the like. Then blood and urine tests would typically be done, with some results ready in just a few minutes. They would usually be enough for a diagnosis, but your vet may also want to send them away to a lab for more detailed testing.  

Your vet will/should have enough information to get you started on some kind of treatment right away. Whether that’s an anti nausea medication, appetite stimulant, condition specific diet, or something else will depend on his findings.  

If your dog is dehydrated, your vet will more than likely keep him in the clinic on IV fluids for a few minutes or a few hours, depending on the severity. He may also give you electrolyte crystals to add to your dog’s drinking water. 

If your vet hasn’t found anything medically wrong (which would be great news!), but your dog still isn’t eating…

Your dog needs to start eating there are no two ways about it, but you may have to get creative.

Try:

Varying the foods you add, so he never knows what yummy treats await.

Putting all or part of his meal in a Kong or other treat dispensing toy to change up an old routine.

Microwaving his food for a few seconds – warming it slightly releases the smells and may entice him.

Adding a bit of water to his dry food then microwaving it for a few seconds or adding a little boiling water will make gravy and soften the food a bit (well, not gravy like you and I know it, but something vaguely resembling it!!).

Changing her feeding times slightly, or take notice if there are certain times of the day she seems to be more interested in eating than others.

Offering smaller meals throughout the day. Your dog’s appetite may be waning for no real reason and is finding a full bowl too much for one sitting. 

If you boil chicken save the liquid and freeze in freezer trays. Pop one in the microwave to defrost and add it to your pup’s meal. 

I know of many people who add baby food, just watch out for ingredients your dog has to avoid.

How about bone broth? It’s easy to make and very nutritious. If your dog has issues with pancreatitis check with your vet first. I know I can’t give it to Red because of that.

If you usually put medication in her food, try giving it separately and see if that makes a difference. It may be changing the taste of the food, and while it didn’t bother her in the past, if she’s finicky now, that could be all it takes. Try putting her pills in some cream cheese, chicken or peanut butter if allowed.

Perhaps reaching down for the food bowl has become uncomfortable, elevating it will help. Try out different heights to find the best one, just make sure he/she doesn’t have to reach too high. 

Exercise stimulates appetite, but just because your dog can’t run like he used to doesn’t mean he can’t go out for short walks, or even a swim. Mental stimulation works too and use some dog food or a healthy and nutritious homemade treat as a reward. Hide it under a cup and let him find it, practice some training, add it to an interactive toy.

If your dog eats canned food, cutting it into pieces and baking it may help as it does for Red!

This adorable video is of Snow. He was having trouble eating so this is what his Mom did and it worked like a charm!!

 

Foods you can try adding to his regular diet

Depending on your dog’s dietary restrictions, there are potentially tons of foods that can be added to make it more palatable, so don’t despair.

add some veggies to your dog's bowl

Vegetables (steamed or boiled to improve digestibility)

  • Canned pumpkin
  • sweet potato
  • peas
  • carrots
  • green beans
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus

delicious fruit in your dog's bowl

Fruits

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Mango
  • Pear
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

chicken beef or turkey

Meat

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Liver
  • Beef

fish oil is very nutritious

Fish

  • White fish
  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Some tuna oil

cottage cheese white rice and boiled egg whites

Misc

  • A drop of fat free cottage
  • Canned food if he’s only getting dry
  • White part of a boiled egg
  • Plain non fat yogurt
  • White rice
  • Quinoa
  • Baby food (I have read of many senior pup parents who add chicken or meat baby food to their diet)

Boiling some chicken with carrots and sweet potatoes is a great addition. Freeze the soup in ice cube trays and defrost as needed. A little splashed on his plain food adds a bit of interest.

How to get an old dog to eat – conclusion

I understand  all too well how frustrating and even stressful it can be, watching your dog turn his head away from the bowl he used to dive into. Sometimes it’s just a passing phase – a skipped meal due to an upset stomach or feeling under the weather. When it comes to Red I call my vet immediately simply because it’s too out of character, and I’m not willing to take a “wait and see” attitude given her age and medical issues. 

If it’s just a case of your dog getting bored with the “same old same old” the suggestions listed here will help.

 

Have you had challenges with your old dog not eating? What were the reasons and how did you get him eating again? Why not share your story in the comments section below or on my Facebook page.  

I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, a new Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.

 

 

 

types of dog food

Senior Dog Nutrition: Is This The End of Our Confusion?

types of dog food

Deciding on the type of senior dog nutrition we’re going to go with is challenging, but is this the end of our confusion?

I often get feedback from readers of my blog, which I am so grateful for. Hearing from everyone lets me know whether or not I am doing a good job of providing the information they are looking for. What I find interesting, although not surprising, is the number of times the subject of senior dog nutrition comes up.

They find so much written about this topic, too much in fact (their words, not mine!!) that they come away more confused than ever.

Organic, all natural, grain free, this added, that taken away, canned food, raw diet!  Isn’t dry food essential for cleaning dog’s teeth? See what I mean!

I don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” solution to that dilemma, especially if your dog has health challenges and may benefit from eating a condition specific diet, which I should imagine your vet has already discussed with you.

The subject of pet nutrition, and specifically senior dog nutrition, really is an interesting one. There’s so much to learn, but I agree with my readers, it can be confusing.

So now I get to the point. You may, or may not, be familiar with Dr. Karen Becker. She is a “proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian,” practicing in Illinois. She is passionate about natural health for pets, and I have learned a lot from her resources.

I came across a two part video she made called “The Quality of Pet Food Ingredients” that I hope you will enjoy. They are extremely informative, and educational, and they might just be the beginning of the end of your confusion.

I would like to add a word of caution – before you buy new food for your dog, please check the ingredient list with your vet, to be sure it is safe for your older dog to eat. If it is, remember to gradually introduce new food into your dog’s diet, a little bit at each meal, over the course of 7-10 days. Too much too soon leads to stomach upset.

Now enjoy the videos!


I am very interested in hearing your feedback about what you just watched. Did you like what Dr. Becker had to say? Did her advice give you something to think about? Has she helped you decide which type of food you would like to try? Leave your feedback in the comment section below.

Senior dog nutrition – conclusion

From health and weight concerns, to personal preference and information overload, choosing a brand and type of food is a challenge. I hope this article has helped clear up some of the confusion surrounding senior dog nutrition, and given you a better idea of the type of food you’d like to see your dog eating. 

should every old dog eat a senior diet

Should Every Old Dog Eat Senior Dog Food

Should every old dog eat senior dog food

There are many vets who believe the nutritional needs of the senior dog can be met by feeding them senior dog food. There are also many vets who believe they can’t!

My thoughts 

I am not a vet or a professional dog food expert, I am however someone who has shared their life with dogs and cats for the past 31 years, and senior dogs specifically for the past 10. I personally don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” answer to canine nutrition, nor do I believe every food labelled “senior” is guaranteed to be the best diet for your dog. I also believe it’s important to know your dog’s health status and whether or not there are ingredients you need to avoid.

Educating yourself is key. While my wonderful vets have done an amazing job at helping me care for my animals’ medical conditions, when it came to nutrition they were not as helpful as I would have expected. Plaques on theShould Every Old Dog Eat Senior Dog Food wall informing us of their staff’s experience in pet nutrition, were awarded by pet food companies and it was the same brands the practice would stock. 

For many many years I switched to senior food as soon as my dog or cat hit that milestone, blindly trusting that it was the right thing to do. I had no idea it was something I should question, especially when my vets were believers. I remember having a bit of a freak out when I first moved to England with my cats and was shocked to find only a couple of brands made a senior formulation, and they were the cheap brands. I wonder now why it didn’t occur to me to look online but it wasn’t such a “thing” back then, at least not for me. I was very concerned, okay extremely worried, the odd time when I fed them “adult.” I don’t know what I thought would happen to them, but I was sure it was something bad.

My awakening

I guess it started a couple of years ago when this website came to be. One of the topics I was planning on writing about was nutrition, and the more I read the more confused I became, the less I wanted to write about it because I was so confused!! 

How could it be that my beliefs about dry food, prescription diets and senior formulations were coming into question after reading so much that was contrary? Was it really true dry food was not necessary for teeth cleaning? Could it be prescription diets contained horrible ingredients? You mean senior food is not “the” answer!! 

My intention is not to get you to stop buying senior food

I believe everyone must make the best decisions they can for their pets, and they need information to do that. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about so many things, pet nutrition included. My best recommendation is to research and see what makes sense for you.  

[bctt tweet=”Should every senior dog eat senior dog food? Let’s find out!!” username=”petcrusader”]

So what’s changing that makes us turn to senior formulations?

While some seniors do remain as active as they ever were, many tend to start slowing down. They don’t get as much exercise as they once did, their metabolism is not as fast as it once should all old dogs eat senior dog foodwas, and the chances of weight gain and obesity become all too real. Sense of smell and taste can fade, along with the ability to chew as effectively. Smaller kibble size can help, as can smaller chunks of food and small more frequent meals throughout the day. 

What are the characteristics of a senior diet?

  • lower calorie to compensate for a decrease in activity level and slowing down of the metabolism, helping your dog avoid weight gain
  • easily digestible higher quality protein to maintain muscle mass and improve palatability of the food
  • higher fibre for gastro intestinal health, and because older dogs are more prone to constipation
  • added supplements like omega-3 fatty acids for joints, and antioxidants

How do I know if this is what my senior dog needs?

That’s the thing isn’t it – you don’t!

Not every senior dog has a weight problem, and a calorie restricted diet wouldn’t be the best thing for dogs who have trouble eating, aren’t interested in eating or are high energy. Then there’s the issue of quality – is the ingredient list loaded with corn, by-products and meal? You’ll find that on food for dogs of all ages, not just senior. Is that really the best we can offer them?

The protein debate

More protein? Less protein? Depends who you’re listening to! It seems to be less about the quantity of the protein, and more about the quality.

This is what I’ve discovered, and to be frank it makes a lot of sense

There are highly digestible proteins that your dog’s body can easily absorb, and those that it can’t. Animal parts like beaks, feet, and tails are 100% protein, but not at all digestible. So why is it appearing in pet food?

Soy is high in protein and a very popular dog food ingredient, but is believed by many to be an inappropriate source of protein. It is seen as merely an inexpensive way for pet food manufacturers to increase the protein content of their food.

From what I understand, the recommendation for lower protein diets in seniors came as a result of how the pet food industry made its’ food 50-60 years ago (sorry I don’t recall the source of that info!). Slaughterhouse waste was combined with discarded vegetables and grains not suitable for human consumption. Because the quality of protein (and of course the food in general) was so poor, it was difficult for dogs (and cats) to digest it, causing strain and stress on the liver and kidneys. As a result, senior pet foods were introduced and as a pet aged vets recommended them for their lower protein content.

On the flip side, many vets believe protein is particularly important in aging dogs. Be advised the protein they’re referring to is high quality, easily digestible.

Does that mean a raw diet?

Yes, to many it does! Raw food in its’ natural state is considered by many to be the most digestible form of protein, full of moisture with nothing added. Because manufactured food has been dehydrated, pets must drink a lot of water to rehydrate, stressing an older dog’s organs. I know many people who swear by a raw diet and have seen noticeable, positive changes as a result.  

Fibre

What about the need for added fibre to prevent constipation and aid in digestive health? Although higher fibre causes dogs to poop more, too much fibre can block the absorption of healthy nutrients. Well, as is the theme throughout this article, plenty of vets believe senior formulas contain the right amount of fibre, while others believe there are healthier ways to get that much needed ingredient.

Healthier ways to add fibre

canned pumpkin to add fibre to a senior dog dietPsyllium husk powder, dark green leafy vegetables, and canned 100% pumpkin are just a few examples.  

Supplements in the food

You read about all the wonderful supplements being added to our cereals, juices, even skin care products. Then you read how they are actually present in such miniscule amounts as to have no positive effect at all. Many believe the same can be said about supplements added to dog food.

Omega 3 for example is sensitive to heat and light, so while it may be technically present in the food (so it can be listed as an ingredient on the label), the manufacturing process has made it useless. It’s best to supplement the diet with a good source of it.  

Joint supplements are another additive, but the quality and amounts are unknown. Once again, using a glucosamine or other appropriate supplement like New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels for instance, or Turmeric golden paste would be heaps more effective.

Read this→ Supplements For Dogs: A Whole Foods Approach

The beginning of the end of our confusion

I know the whole “what to feed my dog” issue can be confusing, but I think it would be a whole lot less confusing if we approached it from a different angle. Rather than checking out the hundreds of dog food brands (are there hundreds, or does it just feel that way?), and trying to figure out which one to buy, let’s do this…

Step one would be to take your dog to the vet for a health check, so you’ll have your starting point. Are there medical concerns? Things his body needs more of? Less of? You may have to schedule a separate visit to discuss your dog’s nutritional needs.

If you like the sound of a raw diet, or are interested in the benefits of adding some natural supplements to a branded food, talk it over. Once you have an understanding of your dog’s specific nutritional needs, you will find it much easier to assess the brands available, and choose the one best suited. Perhaps a commercial dog food isn’t the best option, but a home cooked diet is!! 

How about a chat with a holistic vet

Last year I took Red to a holistic vet for the first time. We had relocated to Spain for a few months and since we needed a vet anyway, it was my chance to “go natural.” His take on animal care in general was fascinating to me, how to find a great vet to help you care for your senior dogand in line with my views, and in particular when it came to diet.

Unlike my vet’s strong belief in the need for Red to eat a prescription kidney diet, my holistic vet wanted her to stop it immediately because of the poor quality of the ingredients. He believed natural was best for her, so after seeing the results of blood tests he created a diet just for her consisting of specific proportions of boiled chicken breast, cooked quinoa, cooked rice, boiled broccoli, raw carrot, raw apple and olive oil. 

Taking your dog to get another opinion on the best diet for him or her could be an interesting and eye opening experience. 

Senior food for senior dogs

If you’re happy with the senior diet your dog has been eating, he’s loving it and doing well I hope you don’t feel any pressure to make any changes. Tons of people (not very scientific but I don’t know the stats!!) choose a senior diet and they believe their pups are doing great. What you can do is ask your vet for recommendations on what you can add to make it even better – omega 3s, joint supplements, cooked chicken or fish, some fruits or vegetables…

Should Every Old Dog Eat Senior Dog Food – conclusion

There are many factors besides age that should be used to assess the suitability of a particular dog food. That’s why I don’t believe when the date on the calendar changes so must the food. Do your research and start educating yourself, it really is fascinating but pay attention to the source of your information and make sure it’s reputable. 

Here are some links to get you started

The European Pet Food Industry Federation 

FDA regulation of the pet food industry

Do You Know What Food is Best for Your Senior Pet?

Why 84% of Pet Owners Don’t Know What to Feed Their Aging Pets

8 Tips for Feeding Your Senior Dog

 

What is your opinion? Is your dog on senior food? What made you choose that particular brand/type? Please share your story in the comments section below or on my Facebook page.

I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.

what is the best dog food for senior dogs

What is the Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs

what is the best dog food for senior dogs

Have you discovered what the best dog food for senior dogs is? If you haven’t I assume you’re hoping I will reveal the brand…right?  

Well, I don’t believe there is a “best” senior dog food for every dog. The “one size fits all” approach many take simply does not make sense to me. Some brands are far superior to others, and dogs have individual needs, some requiring a more specialised diet than others. Various “experts” claim XYZ brand is the best ever invented, while others insist it is ABC. Who’s right?

UPDATED JULY 27/18

What is the Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs

The first step

If your dog has not been for a check up in awhile, now would be the perfect time to schedule one. A senior dog check is usually pretty thorough and includes urine and blood tests. I recommend this as a first step for a couple of reasons. It’s always easier to tackle a problem when it’s still a minor one, rather than when it’s reached its full blown stage. Should your dog have any health issues that may impact the type of diet you choose, it’s best to know before you switch.

The results are in…now what?

Have a conversation with your vet about the results, and whether they have an impact on the type of foods your dog could/should be eating or avoiding. Here is where things can get a bit tricky, and let me explain what I mean.

Not every vet knows as much about pet nutrition as you would expect them to. Your vet may have “nutrition experts” on staff, but if you look at some of the plaques on the wall you will notice most, if not all of the courses, were given by a major pet food company. You will also notice they are usually the brands stocked. Also, your “conventional” vet will have different views from one that practices holistic medicine. 

 

the best dog food for senior dogs

Here is a perfect example from my life…and Red’s! 

We adopted Red 8 years ago when she was around 8. The poor thing was blind and morbidly obese, her stomach literally touched the ground. After a visit to the vet she was put on a well known brand weight loss diet, then a maintenance formula. When she no longer needed that kind of help, I bought senior dog food from a pet supply chain. I assumed senior dog, senior dog food and that was that. Although I was not aware of the need to read ingredients or to even understand what they meant, I did at least know there was a difference in quality. I never bought cheap food, or the big brands sold in supermarkets. Of course paying more doesn’t necessarily mean getting more in terms of quality, or wholesome ingredients.

When Red started having issues with her heart, my vet recommended a prescription heart food. When she started having issues with her kidneys he recommended switching her over to a prescription kidney diet. To be honest I did as he suggested because he’s an amazing vet, and I trust him with Red’s life. I never bothered reading the ingredients, and carried on my merry way.

While writing about senior dog nutrition I came across an article about prescription diets, and I must admit I was surprised, okay shocked, by what I read. There were comments from a few holistic vets who felt they lacked nutritional value, or any value, and recommended avoiding them. They then listed the ingredients and highlighted what was wrong with them. Don’t think I didn’t jump off my couch and run to read the ingredients, and yes I was taken aback by the lack of any “real” food in the can.

The thing is, Red has a number of health issues and we walk a very fine line to keep her balanced, so I was not about to make any changes to her diet. And besides, my vet has been happy with her “progress” so no rocking the boat…certainly not without guidance.

About a year and a half ago we spent a few months in Spain and of course I needed a vet. Since I had wanted to take Red to a holistic vet for quite some time I searched for one in the area. Well, a 50 minute drive wasn’t exactly “in the area” but it was worth the chance to finally see one. I make it sound like I was given the opportunity to see an endangered species!! 

Don’t worry this is relevant!!

Since Pepe (my Spanish vet) did not know Red, he did a series of blood tests to get a comprehensive picture of her current health. The first thing he did when he got the results was create a home cooked whole foods recipe for her. One of the main principles in holistic veterinary medicine is health through a wholesome diet (the same for humans), and he was definitely not happy with her prescription plan. Well, she loved her new food and hadn’t been this enthusiastic about meals in a long time.  Sadly Red died 2 months ago. 

what is the best food for senior dogs

Okay now I have totally confused you!

Sorry it probably seems like things are as clear as mud, but rest assured I will give you the advice you seek! I merely added my experience so you can see where we started, and how we arrived at this point. 

You have options when it comes to choosing the best dog food for your senior dog and they are:

Buy a senior dog food and be done with it

Lots of people buy their senior dog’s food off the supermarket shelf, and they’ll tell you their dogs are fine, and you can do the same. If you trust that pet food manufacturers would only produce quality products that contain everything you need to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements, you’re good to go. 

I hope this didn’t sound a bit sarcastic, because it was definitely not meant to be, but you know how it is when you write…

Follow your vet’s advice

If you’re loving your vet, you have the utmost confidence in his skills, and you entrust the health and well being of your beloved dog to him, then follow his advice. You are perfectly entitled to ask why he recommends that particular brand, what ingredients he is impressed by and why this one over others. 

Make an appointment with a holistic vet

If you “believe” in holistic medicine or you’ve never heard of it, either way you may want to make an appointment to speak with a holistic vet. You could find their perspective on nutrition very enlightening. You are under no obligation to follow their recommendations, just do it as part of your research. A bonus…they don’t all charge for that initial consultation.  

Do some research

There is so much information about pet nutrition out there it can be very confusing, especially when much of it is conflicting. It’s important to be aware of the source of that information, who wrote the article and what their expertise is. Learn how to read a label, what the ingredients actually mean, and how to interpret claims made on the packaging. 

I will give you an example- more and more pet parents are looking for grain free foods because they find it helps stop their dog from scratching, or they’re buying supplements for their joints, skin and coat. You’ll find most pet food companies have jumped on that bandwagon and offer grain free formulations, as well as foods with added supplements. When a supplement is added, let’s say fish oil for example, it is impossible to tell how much has been added or the quality of the product. Also, most has been destroyed in the manufacturing process so your dog will benefit a lot more from you adding it directly to his diet.

You may also want to read up about the various types of food – dry, canned, raw, dehydrated, home cooked…

What can you do in the meantime you ask?

Whether you’re sticking with the food he’s on and leaving it at that, or are interested in exploring options, there are things you can easily add to improve the quality of his current diet.

  • Fruits and vegetables (blueberries, apples, bananas, carrots, broccoli, peas, squash to name just a few)
  • Brown rice or quinoa
  • Plain boiled chicken, turkey or fish such as cod mackerel
  • Supplements – fish oil, New Zealand green lipped mussels, glucosamine and chondroitin…

What ever you decide to do, I always advise speaking with your vet before making any changes. 

You’re still waiting to hear about a specific brand aren’t you? 

Some senior dogs can eat anything and have no problems, others have health challenges that may affect the types of foods they are able to eat. It’s best to find out your dog’s current health status, get recommendations from your traditional and holistic vets, do your research and decide what makes sense to you.

If Red had been able to eat any type of dog food I would have fed her Lily’s Kitchen with some raw food added, for a number of reasons.

  • When we first adopted our other dog Jack he was constantly scratching, so I wanted a dog food as natural as possible, not loaded with fillers or non-essentials 
  • Because I read labels I wanted “real” food in the food
  • I also wanted limited ingredients, not a list as long as the height of the can!!
  • Organic would be a bonus
  • I add raw to Jack’s diet because I’ve read some amazing benefits, but I’m not ready to jump in 100%

How I discovered Lily’s Kitchen

Let me start by saying, I am not recommending you start feeding your dog this brand, this is just what I feed mine. It’s also only available in the UK except through Amazon but it’s very expensive. I started my search for Jack’s new food in a pet supply store, reading the ingredients on every single bag and can of dog food. I do mean that literally. I read those from pet food companies I knew had poor quality ingredients, to the brands I had heard were excellent. 

I was sure I would end up with one of the brands considered “excellent” but I read the poor quality brands anyway, just out of curiousity. Imagine my surprise to find how low down the list anything resembling a real food was on the great brands!! I felt things were not looking good. How could I buy a dog food I wasn’t happy with, knowing what I know?

Finally I got to the section with Lily’s and I knew I found it!! Protein, fruits and vegetables were at the top of the list, and nothing bad on the bottom!! They had a nice selection of flavours, handy because Jack is picky, and it comes in a dry dog food as well, which I like to mix in with the wet. 

Why I would feed it to a senior dog

Here is some information from their website about why I like this brand. 

 

The bonus factor

As I already mentioned, we went to Spain for a few months so of course I had to bring a supply of Jack’s food. I knew I wouldn’t have enough, especially since we had no idea how long we would be away, and I was not looking forward to another search. Imagine my surprise the first time I went to see Pepe, and lining his shelves were cans of…you guessed it Lily’s!! I couldn’t believe it. It’s not a massive company you find all over the world like some brands. I was happy with my choice  anyway, as was Jack, but the fact my holistic vet stocked it and gave his seal of approval made it even better. 

Have you found the best senior dog food – conclusion

I hope you have found the information here helpful, as you make your choice of the best senior dog food for your beloved pup. 

 

What do you feed your senior dog? Are you still using an adult formula, or have you switched to a senior, or perhaps a condition specific food? Have you noticed any differences in your dog since switching? I’d love to hear what’s working for you, what hasn’t and what led you to choose the brand your dog is eating. Let me know in the comments section below or post on my Facebook page

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

**There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running. **