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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.

There are no accepted standards for the required nutritional levels in old dogs so food makers are free to do as they see fit.

“Senior” Dog Foods

Let’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 Fish

Fish 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 Solution

Kibble 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.

Within a few weeks, your body would be craving more protein or fruit because veggie burgers alone do not meet all your nutritional needs. That’s why nutritionists and doctors recommend a varied and balanced diet. The same goes for your pets.

To ensure your pet gets a more well-rounded diet, you can supplement kibble with real food like blueberries, carrots and yogurt. Plus, give a non-kibble meal periodically.

Here’s a video from Veterinarian, Dr. Andrew Jones where he shows you how to make a Sweet Potato and Fish dinner for your dog :)


Yours in Treats and Health,

Jen & Sammy the best in dog treat recipes

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FTC Disclosure: When there are links that go to another website, they are usually affiliate links. That means if you choose to buy, I'll get a small commission. Your purchase helps cover the costs of this website, plus, you get fabulous material that can save you money and keep your dogs healthy. It's a win win! :)

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