Should My Senior Dog Eat Different Food Than My Puppy?

Your puppy is now officially an old puppy, and you might be asking yourself, “Do I need to change my dog’s diet?” Long story short, the answer is, yes! You do! From puppy to adult to senior, your dog’s diet will need to change as their life goes on, just like humans do. As dogs age, they need different types of nutrients in food, and you need to watch out for these changes!

Puppy Stages

Your puppy is still a puppy when they haven’t reached full weight or height! During these stages, your little furry friend needs lots of energy in order to keep moving throughout the day. It’s highly recommended to feed your young puppy several meals throughout the day in their early stages, as well as provide them with high quality, protein filled meals!

Hold off on raw bones and treats though, as this can cause them to have upset tummies as they’re not old enough to handle pure meat or vegetables yet. However, feel free to mix meats and vegetables into some of their meals if you plan on making them food or putting them on a raw food diet in the future!

Adult Stages

When your pup is an adult, they’ve finally reached their full weight and height. This can take up to 2 years for larger dogs! As an adult, your pup should be receiving slightly less protein-filled foods, as they no longer need to gain weight. They also should be having less meals throughout the day! 

Now is a good time to put your pup on diets you think are healthy for them, and even consider making your pup’s food for them! At this stage, their digestive system is developed enough to where they can handle certain bacterias that can be found in food.

Senior Stages

As a senior, your dog will be moving less and probably sleeping more. In general, your pup is a senior when they’ve reached half their life expectancy! Due to their aging furry bodies, your senior puppy will need different nutrients and surprisingly, more protein, as now you’re looking out for their health. It’s recommended that senior dogs get lower calorie meals and higher fiber content to help with their health!

During this time, your pup can still eat meat and vegetables! However, the amount may need to decrease since your pup will no longer need the energy, and you may need to help soften up the food more by adding broth or water.

Why Should My Dog Eat Senior Food?

While it may seem troublesome to change your dog’s diet again, there are several reasons why you should consider giving your pup a new diet, especially now that they’re getting older!

1. Changes In Metabolism

As a senior, your pup’s metabolic rate will change as they get older. Changing their diets will help adjust to these rates, making sure that your pup doesn’t get too much carbs or fats that may harm their health. Much like humans, seniors need a different meal plan to match their lifestyle!

2. Health Risks

Considering your dog is getting older, they may develop health risks as time goes on. Some common problems may include diabetes, heart problems, kidney problems, obesity, and even liver problems. Senior dog food brands tend to take these health risks in mind as they develop a proper meal that should help your senior dog live longer! 

3. Protein Needs

Contrary to popular belief, your dog may actually need more protein as they age! Senior dogs are actually prone to losing muscle mass as they age, so they actually need more protein to ensure they can keep the muscles they do have! However, protein may seem like they’ll give your pup more calories they need to burn off. As long as you give your pup daily walks, they should be able to avoid obesity problems!

4. Fiber Needs

More fiber is extremely important in a senior dog’s life. Your pup may be prone to digestive problems as they age, and a high fiber meal is what they need to avoid these digestive problems! Adult dog food may not be enough for your pup, so consider looking out for senior dog food, which ensures high-fiber ingredients that your old puppy needs!

5. Nutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals

Much like humans, dogs need meals that tend to have less sugar and salt. They need meals that have less salt in them, and senior dog food can provide that! They also tend to need more supplements than younger dogs, to help keep their bones healthy and strong. Consider looking for supplements that can help with joint pains, arthritis, and calcium deficiencies. 

As your dog gets older, they need changes in their diets! Senior dog food is specifically made for these dietary changes, so consider switching to senior dog food recipes to help keep your pup healthy and strong!

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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