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Baggins' Bites: Does Your Senior Dog Need Special Food?
July 26, 2011
|Dear Dog Lover,
Last week, we talked about specialty diets and whether or not they’re actually necessary. After all, 70 different foods for small dogs (from 1 maker!) seems a little excessive.
When you know what types of nutrients your dog needs, you’ll realize the “special” Shih Tzu food, cocker spaniel food and all the rest isn’t so special after all. What you really need to pay attention to is how much protein & fat your pet needs and how much is in the food.
In other words, be an informed consumer.
“Senior” Dog FoodsLet’s take the popular “senior” dog foods. What makes them senior? In many cases, the makers added glucosamine or chondroitin for joint health so your dog has less stiffness as he ages.
On the surface, this makes sense.
Studies show these supplements are excellent at reducing the stiffness associated with arthritis and other age related issues.
The problem is, some of the senior foods have such low levels of these supplements they won’t do much good for your dog.
Research shows your dog needs about 500 milligrams of glucosamine and 400 milligrams of chondroitin per 25 lbs. of body weight to help relieve painful joints.
Yet, some of these so-called “senior” foods have less than 500 milligrams of these COMBINED.
One exception is Wellness Super5Mix Dry Dog Food, Just for Seniors Recipe. It has 800 mg/kg of glucosamine and 700 mg/kg of chondroitin.
There a few others that have reasonably high levels of these supplements too. The only way you can know is to read the label. Look for the area that says “Guaranteed Analysis” and see what the percentages are.
Skip the ones with low levels of these ingredients.
You’re probably paying extra for a negligible amount of a product that may or may not help your dog.
Instead, if you want to feed a food with these supplements, look for one that has high levels of them. And, be prepared to wait. It can take up to 12 weeks for you see a difference in your pet.
All dogs benefit from great nutrition no matter their age.
Getting enough essential fatty acids is one way to make sure your pet is getting what he needs. These acids improve skin and coat condition, help prevent memory and eyesight loss and even protect against joint problems.
How can you get more of them in your pet?
Eat More FishFish is high in essential omega 3 fatty acids. Hundreds of studies show this natural anti-inflammatory can improve joint health – even reduce or end the use of corticosteriods as an answer to arthritis and other joint stiffness.
You can feed your dog a fish based food or give him a fish oil supplement or a supplement like Dr. Jones'.
Nutrition is Not a One Stop SolutionKibble alone will never provide your pet the most well rounded diet possible. Even the highest quality kibble brands are still processed leaving fewer of the nutrients available to your pet simply because of the way it’s created.
Think if you tried to exist on something like veggie burgers for months on end.
P.S. Please join us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/naturaldogtreat it's fun to interact there.
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