As your dog enters their senior years (around 9 years old), you may be wondering how to best care for them. One question that may come up is how often to feed them. Depending on your dog’s activity level and metabolism, they may need one or two meals per day. Here are a few tips to help you determine how much and when to feed your senior dog.
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How often to feed a senior dog
As your dog reaches their senior years, they may start to prefer smaller meals more often throughout the day. This is normal and nothing to worry about as older dogs are more prone to obesity and this will help them feel fuller for longer.
It’s important not to overfeed your senior dog as this can cause health problems down the line. When in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian to make sure you are feeding your dog the right amount of food based on their age, weight, and activity level.
When to feed a senior dog
In addition to how often you feed your senior dog, you’ll also want to pay attention to when you feed them. For example, if your dog has diabetes, they may need to eat around the same time each day to help keep their blood sugar levels in check.
As dogs are conditioned animals, feeding them around the same time is recommended anyway! Feeding them right before or after exercise can also help prevent an upset stomach. An example would be:
- 9 AM: Before walking a small meal
- 3 PM: Before walking a small meal
- 6 PM: Before walking a small meal
If feeding your dog 3 times a day is not possible we recommend the following schedule:
- 9 AM: Before walking a medium meal
- 6 PM: Before walking a medium meal
How much to feed a senior dog
Obviously, other variables come into play in the quantity of food your dog is supposed to consume. For example, weight and exercise are far more significant than age.
We recommend utilizing a dog food calculator. They will calculate your dogs’ diet based on their metabolism. You may select “senior” from the activity level option.
As mentioned on the calculator’s website, senior dogs require fewer calories as their activity levels are lower.
The right food for a senior dog
As your dog ages, you may want to consider switching them to a senior formula dog food. These foods are designed for older dogs and typically contain more fiber to help with digestion and fewer calories to help with weight management.
If your senior dog is healthy and active, they may do just fine on their regular diet. But if they are starting to slow down or put on a few extra pounds, switching to a senior formula food may be the way to go.
Consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet and always follow their recommendations.
Special considerations for feeding a senior dog
There are a few things to keep in mind when feeding a senior dog
More prone to obesity
First, older dogs are more prone to obesity and health problems like diabetes, so it’s important not to overfeed them
Keep them full
Second, they may need to eat smaller meals more often throughout the day. This is normal and nothing to worry about as older dogs are more prone to obesity and this will help them feel fuller for longer
Keep their blood sugar levels in check
Third, you’ll want to pay attention to when you feed your senior dog. For example, if your dog has diabetes, they may need to eat around the same time each day to help keep their blood sugar levels in check
What not to give your senior dog as a snack
While it’s tempting to give your senior dog a little treat now and then, there are some things you should avoid giving them as snacks. For example, processed foods like cookies, chips, and crackers are high in calories and low in nutrients, so they’re not the best choice for older dogs
In addition, avoid giving your dog table scraps as these can also be high in calories and fat. Instead, opt for healthy snacks like carrots, apples, or blueberries.
When it comes to feeding your senior dog, it’s important to make sure you are feeding them the right amount of food based on their age, weight, and activity level.
In addition, try to feed them at the same time. Dogs are conditioned animals and this will help them feel fuller for longer
Finally, make sure you are giving them healthy snacks and avoiding processed foods.
Feeding your senior dog the right way will help them stay healthy and happy for years to come!