Our Sweet Heart Seniors Series continues today with a discussion on Activity Level and Calorie Intake. As our dog’s age, their activity level may decrease. I say “may” as some dogs just keep on going and going their entire lives. Others start to nap more or be less interested in play. If your dog is starting to slow down, there are some things that you can do to help keep her as healthy as possible.
As your dog ages, be sure she is at her optimal weight. Carrying around extra pounds, especially in the senior years can aggravate arthritis or may lead to other health conditions. You also don’t want to put yourself into emotional distress. For example, your dog just turned 11 and he needs to lose 5-6 lbs. Emotionally you’re going to feel as though you’re depriving her of food in order to reach her goal weight. If you had started to get her to her goal weight as say age 7 or 8, you could have incorporated more exercise into the weight loss program. Let us help your dog become a slimmer version of herself.
We will work with you to monitor calorie intake so we’re confident that your dog is getting the proper amount. In the photo we created for today’s topic, we show the difference in food we would recommend for a 20 lb. dog at 2 different ages. We decreased the food by 25% or 100 calories based upon a slower daily routine. This may need to be modified every few months based upon feedback from you and your vet.
The food intake your senior dog may need might also depend on any health conditions she may be fighting. Kidney disease, heart conditions, arthritis, and digestive concerns are common in older dogs. We can help create a custom diet for your dog to help combat these health concerns while keeping her properly fed.
If your dog remains active, I would recommend continuing to feed at the same levels.
Try to keep your senior moving by initiating fun activities and introducing new games or toys. I’ve often found that keeping my senior’s mind sharp really helped better his overall health. Simple things like blowing bubbles with gum or the ones kids have. You might get the “are you crazy” look, which I often did, but when I started laughing, he would wag his tail and give it a go. Keeping your dog engaged and interested in everyday things will help both you and him to live a fuller life.
Regular visits to your vet are a must with your senior dog.
We hope you have enjoyed Part 2 of our Sweet Heart Seniors series and would love your feedback. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s entry: Part 3 –Supplements to Help with Aging. If you’d like us to make meals for your dog of any age, please start here. Thanks!