Cooking for Your Senior Dog?
As your dog gets older, she may have less of an appetite. If she’s already a picky eater, pleasing her palate can be even more challenging. Your main concern of course should be to ensure that your senior dog gets enough nutrients she needs. If you’re cooking for your dog (which is a great thing), you should cover all the major food groups when preparing her meals.
What to Feed Senior Dogs
Protein is essential for dogs. And the best type of protein to give your dog are animal sources. There are several meat types that you can choose from. It’s best to feed a variety of meat and different cuts as each carries unique nutrient profiles. Beef, for example, is a great choice since it’s packed with protein and carries zinc and iron which are essential for your dog. Make sure that you trim excess fat. The fats that you see in or around meats are great for your dog as they absorb fat-soluble vitamins and bolster your dog’s immune system. But of course, moderation is key. Chicken is also great for senior dogs and usually works well with picky eaters. You can also go for turkey.
Fish is also great since aside from being a good source of protein, it’s also packed with Omega 3 and 6. Omega 3 helps boost your senior dog’s immune system, promotes skin and coat health plus it helps reduce inflammation. It’s best to feed your senior dog a whole meal with fish at least once or twice a week.
Veggies & Fruits
Greens and fruits are also great for your senior dog. They are excellent sources of dietary fiber and essential minerals and vitamins. Fiber promotes better digestion. Most senior dogs suffer from constipation which is why adding greens and fruits to their meals is important. Fiber is also essential in controlling blood sugar levels. This is especially helpful for dogs suffering from diabetes.
For example, sweet potatoes is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and beta carotene. You can add cooked sweet potatoes to your senior dog’s meal. Broccoli, Brussels, sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower are packed with antioxidants that help strengthen your dog’s immune system. Remember to give your dog a small number of veggies and fruits. Having too much fiber will cause diarrhea which can lead to dehydration. Diarrhea also prevents your senior dog from absorbing the essential nutrients from the food you give her. So again, moderation is key.
Some greens also make dogs gassy. So test which greens are working good for your dog’s stomach. Add a very small amount first.
Should You Feed Senior Dogs Grains?
Grains contain starchy carbohydrates. They are a great source of energy and helps maintain the normal functions of your dog’s brain and nervous systems. Some grains like brown rice and oat bran also have beneficial fiber which helps keep your dog’s colon healthy.
There is a great debate about grains and carbohydrates in dogs' diet. Some argue that they’re completely unnecessary and harmful while some say it’s good for dogs.
My take on this is this. As long as your dog has no allergic reaction to grains, adding a small amount of cooked grains should be okay. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, rice may not be that good of an idea since rice easily ferments in your dog’s stomach and can cause tummy problems such as gassiness. Oatmeal may be a better option as it is bland and soothing to your dog’s stomach.
Consult Your Vet
Senior dogs can get very sensitive. If you’re just switching your senior dog to a homemade diet, it’s best that you consult your vet first. Certain health problems such as diabetes, kidney problems, diabetes, and dental problems can affect your dog’s appetite.
If your dog has been on a homemade diet for many years or ever since you got her, you should not have that much of a problem. But it is still best to consult your vet. Your vet can give you advice on recipes and ingredients to include in your homemade diet for your furry fellow.