What is the best dog food for seniors?
It’s no secret that the way to your pupper’s heart is through their stomach. But the older they become, the harder it will be to burn off those yummy treats.
Although they’ll retain the same special personality, as a dog ages they tend to slow down, both physically and mentally. And when your dog’s activity levels decline, their dietary needs will change.
When is your pupper considered a golden oldie?
While there’s no hard and fast rule, the average age of a dog entering their senior years is seven. This varies between breeds. A larger breed like a labrador may show signs of ageing a little earlier, and toy breeds are likely to reach senior status later in life.
Adult dog food vs senior food – is there a difference?
In most cases, no.
You might be surprised to learn that when it comes to nutritional requirements for senior pet food, manufacturers are not bound by any specific regulations. And while you may see plenty of commercial senior food brands on the market, if you take a closer look at the ingredients you’ll find they’re often the same as their adult food counterparts.
For weight management in senior dogs, less is more
Less activity and low metabolism can add up to unwanted kilos. That’s why older dogs need a lighter diet. The risk of illnesses like heart disease and diabetes in dogs can be reduced when they’re a healthy weight.
Portion control is an easy way to manage your pupper’s weight. Smaller portions not only give structure to mealtime, healthy homemade dog food like Lyka pouches are tailored to your dog’s size, and can be adjusted at any time.
Fresh whole foods rich in nutrients can also help maintain a healthy weight. Lyka’s ingredients are similar to what you’d find in a healthy family dinner, with added antioxidants and superfoods like spirulina, chia seeds and kale. To lock in the natural nutritional value, all Lyka formulations are cooked at a low temperature.
Low GI carbs keep the kilos off too
Many dry dog foods use high levels of high-GI carbohydrates, such as wheat, rice and potatoes, in order to give them their biscuit-like consistency. These carbohydrates are converted to glucose, which cause blood sugar spikes that can lead to diabetes. This glucose also gets stored as fatty tissue, which can lead to easy weight gain, particularly as your dog’s activity levels decrease. That’s why Lyka includes low GI ingredients including carrot, broccoli, butternut squash, spinach and cauliflower. Low GI carbohydrates give your pup the energy they need without being stored in fatty tissue. They also maintains blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of diabetes.
Support those stiff joints
Just like us, our four-legged senior citizens are susceptible to arthritis, which causes joint pain, inflammation and stiffness. Omega-3 and fish oil have been proven to ease symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint inflammation. A 2010 study showed that dogs suffering from osteoarthritis which were given a diet higher in omega-3 had a significant improvement in the ability to walk and play, and could also rise from a resting position much easier than dogs on a lower omega-3 diet.
Lyka’s recipes include sardines in our Grass-Fed Beef Bowl and fish oil in our remaining recipe range, both of which are bursting with omega-3 goodness.
It’s a little known fact that the benefits of omega-3 can only be found in fresh food. That’s because it goes rancid once it’s exposed to oxygen, which means the fatty acids simply can’t survive in bags of dry kibble.
Fresh food can also reduce the risk of cancer
The high omega-3 concentration in Lyka is not only good for your pupper’s joints, but can also reduce the risk of cancer as they get older. Studies have shown that omega-3s extend survival times for dogs with cancers, and decrease the risk of certain cancers in dogs, including colon, breast, and prostate cancers as well as lymphomas found in white blood cells.
The low cooking temperature of Lyka also prevents the formation of carcinogenic proteins, which are present in many dry foods that can be cooked at temperatures upwards of 200 degrees Celcius. Check out our post on how nutrition can combat the risk of cancer for more on how a fresh food diet can reduce the risks in your pup.
Being a senior dog is thirsty work
Older dogs tend to drink less water as they age, so they’re more likely to suffer from dehydration. It can also be harder to spot dehydration symptoms in senior dogs, as some symptoms such as loss of skin elasticity and lowered activity levels can be easily mistaken as signs of ageing. If left untreated for too long, dehydration can cause serious illness, organ failure or even death.
Sometimes, leaving out water for your pup is not enough, especially in the heat of summer. One easy way to make sure your pup is getting more water is by feeding them a fresh diet. Dry kibble can contain as low as 6% moisture, while Lyka contains 70% moisture, making it an easy source of hydration. Along with fresh bowls of water, a moisture-rich food can help quench their thirst, so you’ll see fewer tongues out and a more healthy, active pup.
Senior puppers are what they eat
Lyka homemade senior dog food offers many health benefits for your older pupper. Made from 100% whole foods, each Lyka recipe is packed with natural, bioactive nutrients, and is high in protein and low in GI.
Along with a personalised portion size, Lyka’s natural ingredients can help promote brain and memory health. It can also reduce your dog’s chances of acquiring pancreatitis, and renal and liver disease, which can be common in older dogs.
To prove that Lyka is truly human-grade food, have a look at our newest Lyka family member, James, try it for himself. It goes to show that if we wouldn’t eat it, we wouldn’t serve it to your pupper.
Transition your pupper to a healthy, nutritious diet such as Lyka, and you’ll soon discover there’s plenty of life in your old dog yet.