Maintaining Health Of Your Dog Through Diet
Why Knowing How To Feed Older Dogs Is Important
Veterinary Assistant Schools know that teaching pet owners how to maintain the health of their dogs is important. Changes naturally occur as a dog gets older and with these changes, the proper diet can help preserve quality of a dog’s life, as well as potentially extend it. That is why reputable Vet Assistant Schools, along with other pet care curriculums offered, often promote approaches to dietary changes when feeding older dogs.
Some key areas of focus concern metabolic, immunologic, and body composition transitions as your dog ages. While there is a range, the average dog will experience visible changes between seven and twelve years old. While some physiological components are unchangeable, a reputable veterinary assistant school teaches the areas that can be affectively managed and improved through diet.
The weight of a dog can affect health and longevity, so knowing appropriate age and size relative to when to introduce a senior diet for your dog, is key. A guide is listed below to help identify preliminary age and weight related benchmarks as determinants for dietary changes. Your certified veterinary assistant school professional might suggest you introduce a senior diet using the following criteria:
- Small to medium dogs/breeds weighing up to 50 pounds – 7 years of age
- Large dogs/breeds weighing 51 to 90 pounds – 6 years of age
- Giant dogs/breeds weighing 91 pounds or above – 5 years of age.
The primary goal in feeding an older dog is to preserve health and body weight. A vet assistant school will also teach that disease prevention or management is an additional reason and is equally important in providing a modified diet for your dog. Chronic disease or conditions can be ameliorated often through diet, as can weight and metabolic changes that occur as your dog matures.
Common health issues your dog may experience when he/she becomes a senior may include:
- Dental problems
- Less ability to fight infection
- Loss of muscle mass
- Intestinal problems
- Skin and coat changes.
Similar to humans, dogs often experience a slower metabolism and less exercise, according to reputable vet assistance school programs. Typically, your dog does not need as many calories, but as a pet owner, you should check with your veterinarian for a senior pet food that will meet your dog’s unique needs.
Gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, is an omega-6 fatty acid that is also very important for your dog. GLA helps preserve a healthy skin and coat. Older dogs tend to have less of it so you’ll want to ensure it is included in his/her diet. Also, the antioxodants vitamin E and beta-carotene fight free radicals and support your dog’s overall immune system.
Finally, along with all other animal care programs, reputable veterinary assistant schools teach that a predictable routine, consistent veterinary care, and avoidance of abrupt changes in the life of your pooch goes a long way in preserving health, vitality, disease management, and even longevity for a happy senior dog.