Do Senior Dogs Need More Protein

What Health Problems Can Affect A Senior Dogs Diet

Does my dog need a senior food?

If your dog has medical problems in its later years, you may need help from a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist to plan a proper diet. Older pets with specific conditions, like diabetes, kidney failure, or liver disease may require special veterinary diets to assist in the treatment of their conditions, Metzger says.

Dogs with heart disease may need lower-calorie senior dog foods to help keep weight down as well as lower-sodium formulations.

The goal of a diabetic diet is to delay absorption of a food,” Nunez says. That’s important for dogs with diabetes. When foods are absorbed slowly, blood sugar tends to rise more slowly.

Lower-fat, higher-fiber foods are best for diabetic dogs, Nunez says. Consult your veterinarian about which type of food to buy.

Some senior dogs also have trouble with constipation, so a higher-fiber diet will help them stay regular.

Many senior diets have higher-quality protein sources than standard foods. This helps to maintain body weight and muscle mass without putting too much strain on the kidneys.


Victor Senior Healthy Weight Recalls

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration publishes all of its recalls on pet products to keep consumers up to date with the safety status of the products that they are considering purchasing.

The recalls could be triggered by the company itself, by an FDA request, or by an FDA order under statutory authority. As of the date of writing, there have been no recalls published relating to Victor Senior Healthy Weight range which demonstrates that their dedicated food safety team is doing a great job.

Encouraging Your Senior Dog To Eat

The main reason senior dogs tend to be frail is their decreased appetite. Therefore, increasing the amount of protein in their food will not mean much if they do not eat that food in the first place. As such, you should make the dogs food more palatable. That could involve warming the food to enhance its aroma, thus stimulating the dogs appetite.

High-fat foods are also worth considering, as they tend to be tastier. But be sure to toe the line of moderation between fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in your poochs diet.

Don’t Miss: Do Special K Protein Bars Make You Gain Weight

Protein And Senior Dogs By Diana Laverdure

DianaLaverdure-Dunetz is my co-author for Canine Nutrigenomics: TheNew Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Healthand The Canine ThyroidEpidemic: Answers You Need for Your Dog. I am pleased toshare with you an excerpt from hertwo-part article covering preventative measures on canine aging. Her originalarticle is very comprehensive and covers topics I have discussed previously butwith a slightly different angle. I chose to highlight protein and seniors, andencourage you to read both articles. Enjoy! Jean Dodds, DVM

I dedicate this article to the main man of my life,Chase. Any of you who are familiar with my story know that Chase is the reason I havecommitted my life to helping dogs live as long and healthy as possible throughnutrition. As I write this, its hard to believe that January 2016marked 14 years that Chase and I have been together. I dont know Chases exactage because he is adopted and was not a puppy at the time. I do know that he isat least 15, and for a Shepherd mix, I count our blessings that while he hassome arthritis, he is still healthy, happy, alert and has an amazing zest forlife .

After all, while we all want our dogs to enjoy a long life, we also wantthat life to have quality. Quantity + quality = the best of both worlds for therelatively short time we get to spend with our best friends.

A Background of Aging and Disease

Protein: Essential to a Healthy Senior Dog

Gluten is a poor quality protein that impairs brain health


When Is A Dog Considered A Senior

How Much Protein Should My Senior Dog Have

Not all dogs get grey hair around their muzzles. In fact, many are as playful as a puppy for their entire lives.

In fact

You may have noticed that small dogs seem to age more slowly than large dogs. Its true. A small dog can live to be as old as 20 years. But a large dog can reach maturity much sooner.

So, how do you know when your dog has entered her golden years?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association2

small dogs are generally considered senior at 7 years of age. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans and are often considered senior when they are 5 to 6 years of age.

Of course, all dogs are different. A healthy diet, regular exercise and good dental care can help extend your dogs middle age phase.

Also Check: Premier Protein Sugar

Feed Little And Often

Your dog will probably be used to being fed twice a day, although as they reach their senior years, they may prefer smaller portions more often.

To bring out the foods taste and smell, serve it at room temperature. Remember, if youre feeding your older dog food thats been stored in the fridge, youll need to take it out up to two hours before mealtime to get it to the right temperature.

If thats not possible, its fine to briefly microwave wet foods to warm them, but be careful that its never hot, or it could burn your dogs sensitive mouth!

How Low Should You Go

A low-protein diet doesnt mean a total absense protein, and there isnt one single number that indicates when a food is low in protein. For the purposes of this ranking, we found it helpful to consider two big points:

  • The Association of American Feed Control Officials , an industry group that establishes pet food labeling standards, considers 18% to be the minimum recommended protein content for dogs. Only one of the foods on our list has protein content lower than that Hills Prescription k/d, and you can only get it through a veterinarians prescription.
  • Dog food advertising tends to take a the more the merrier approach to discussing protein content in food. Our analysis found that among popular foods that claim to be high protein, they range from about 30% to 40% protein content. For the purposes of this analysis, we limited our reviews to foods with no more than 28% protein content.

You May Like: Vega One Compared To Shakeology

Nutrition Guide: How Much Protein Does A Dog Need

Protein requirement for dogs is one of the most important aspects of nutrition, but how much protein does a dog need?

Although protein makes an essential part of a dogs diet, it is also often one of the most misunderstood aspects of dog nutrition. Every dog owner I know talks about nutrition in their pets as one of the real concerns, and there is usually a misunderstanding about protein in a dogs diet.

Like a responsible dog owner, you only need to give your dogs the best nutritional value as possible, and understanding the importance of protein in your dogs diet is as good a start as any.

Worst Adult Dry Dog Food: Iams Proactive Health

How Much Protein My Dog Needs | Billa Boyka

The primary ingredient in IAMS Proactive Health Adult Chunks dry dog food is chicken.

Though chicken is a quality item and raw chicken comprises about 80% water, but when cooked, most of the water is lost, which reduces the meat content to just a portion of its initial weight.

After processing, these ingredients would probably account for a smaller fraction of the whole content of the finished food.

The second ingredient is cornmeal which is coarse ground flour made from the dried corn. Corn is a controversial and inexpensive cereal grain of low nutritional value to a dog.

For that reason, it is not a preferred part of any dog food.

The third ingredient of this product is sorghum , a starchy cereal grain with a similar nutrient profile to corn.

Because it is gluten-free and claims a smoother blood sugar performance than other grains, sorghum may be considered a satisfactory non-meat ingredient.

The fourth ingredient is chicken by-product meal, which is a dry product of the slaughterhouse waste.

This meal is made after all prime cuts have been separated, which includes almost anything left, including beaks, feet, and even undeveloped eggs, anything except the feathers.

But on the bright side, these portions are meat concentrates and comprise protein approximately 300% more than the fresh chicken.

The fifth ingredient is beet pulp, a controversial ingredient, as it is a high fiber by-product made of sugar beet processing.

See AlsoIs Solid Gold a good dog food

You May Like: Best Protein Treatment For Natural Black Hair

How Much Fiber Does My Senior Dog Need

Some senior diets may have added levels of fiber, usually along with fewer calories, as a way to help the dog lose weight. But remember, very old dogs probably dont need to lose weight. In addition, fiber may also decrease the intake of some essential nutrients. Cellulose-based fibers are poorly fermentable and can significantly decrease the digestibility of other nutrients in the food.

Fiber has its uses, however. It can help alleviate constipation, which can be a problem in older dogs. It can also provide glucose regulation, which may be altered in older dogs. Although cellulose-based fibers are traditionally used in dog foods, recent findings suggest that moderately fermentable fiber blends, such as beet pulp, may provide better glucose regulation and nutrient digestion. And no, beet pulp doesnt cause bloat or contain sugar, as some pulp fiction claims.

Protein Requirements In Senior Dogs

As a dog trainer, enthusiast and dog-mom, I try to keep up on the latest developments in canine behavior and health. In fact, Im a bit of a geek when it comes to researching the latest findings. So imagine my surprise when I learned that what I and so many others had believed about older dogs needing less protein in their diets is untrue.

One concern in feeding older dogs a high-protein diet has always been the potential effect on kidney function. It has long been believed that feeding a food with a lower protein content would protect the dogs aging kidneys by lessening the workload. Recent research, however, proves that the right type of protein does not damage the kidneys, and feeding a lower protein diet does not protect them. In fact, even senior dogs who only had one kidney and were fed a high protein diet outlived seniors who were fed a low protein diet. A similar finding was made regarding long-held concerns about high protein and liver disease. Some doubted the benefits of the low-protein diet for seniors long ago: back in 1994, in an article in Veterinary Forum , Dr. Delmar Finco stated that “benefits from a reduced protein diet typical of existing canine geriatric products have never been proven, and the possibility exists that reduced protein diets are not in the best interest of the geriatric patient.”

You May Like: Protein Shakes Like Shakeology

How Many Calories Should My Senior Dog Consume

One of several feeding quandaries associated with older dogs is do they need more, or fewer, calories? Well, just try squeezing yourself into that prom tux, wedding dress, or honeymoon bikini, and lets hear how that pizza and doughnut diet is working for you. The same is true of our dogs. Its not necessarily that we get lazy as we age. Changes in metabolic rate cause fewer calories to be burned and more to be stored as fat. A recent study showed that mature dogs require 20 percent fewer calories in order to maintain the same weight as younger ones. Dogs entering old age may benefit from eating a food with less fat and fewer calories. Research also suggests that L-carnitine, a vitamin-like compound made from amino acids found in red meats, fish, chicken, and dairy products, may may help the body use fat for energy.

But its not that simple. Chances are most of the really old people you know are thin. The same goes for dogs. As dogs progress from old to very old, they tend to stop gaining weight and instead start losing weight, actually requiring more calories. In those cases, they often have a decreased appetite, possibly related to a decreased sense of smell or taste, and may even have difficulty chewing or swallowing. Increasing the fat content of the diet can increase palatability and calorie content, and may improve protein efficiency.

Transition Slowly To The New Senior Dog Food

Is High Fiber Dog Food Good for Dogs?

Once you have selected the right diet for your senior dog, its important to make the transition gradually to their new food. Ideally, this should be done over 7-10 days or more, with a complete transition to the new food by 14 days.

If your dog is prone to digestive upset, you may want to take longer to introduce the new food. Its best to start by mixing in small amounts of the new food with their current diet. Each day, you can add more of the new food and remove more of the old food until the transition is complete. If digestive upset occurs , its best to stop the new diet and contact your vet.

Read Also: Can Lack Of Protein Cause Headaches

Added Joint Supplements For Seniors

Dogs are more likely to develop arthritis as they age, especially if they are overweight or obese. Supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin, both precursors for cartilage, may reduce the symptoms of arthritis in dogs after a few months according to some studies. Research offers even more definitive evidence for the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, both of which have been shown to reduce inflammation in the joints and the symptoms of arthritis .

Unfortunately, many diets marketed for seniors advertising glucosamine, chondroitin, EPA, and DHA do not contain effective amounts of these substances. To get results, you may need to add them to your dog’s food unless it is one specifically labeled for joint health.

Twin Pet Dry Dog Food

Twin Pet dog food is a plant-based dry dog food utilizing a limited amount of unnamed and unidentified meat as its primary source of animal protein.

Twin Pet contains cheap ingredients of poor quality that do not provide the necessary nutrition to dogs.

Like the dog food brands we already discussed, the first ingredient is corn, so you already know how we feel about that.

The second ingredient is wheat middlings, also known as wheat mill run. It is a cheap by-product that remains after cereal grain processing.

Unfortunately, the disparities in nutrient content in the wheat middlings can be a critical concern in determining their aptness for being used in any dog food or even livestock feeds.

In actuality, wheat middlings is just the milling dust as well as floor sweepings. It is an ingredient that is typically associated with low-quality pet foods.

The third ingredient is the meat and bone meal, a rendered product from the mammal tissues. It has lower digestibility in comparison with the other meat meals.

Other unhealthy, non-nutritional ingredients in this dog food include unspecified animal fat and salt. The quantity of salt is also unknown, making it difficult to determine the nutritional value of this ingredient.

Altogether this product is one of the worst dog food brands.

Recommended Reading: Are Special K Protein Bars Good For You

What Is Too Much Protein For Dogs

For your information: Food with more than 30% protein is considered high. Food containing between 21% 29% are considered moderate. Food with less than 20% protein is low and is usually only available by prescription for those dogs who have medical issues that dictate that they need a particularly low protein diet.

Holistic Select Adult Health Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Recipe

How much protein do elderly people need post exercise?

While this recipe may start with chicken meal as its first ingredient, this is quite common for dry kibbles, and it is reassuring to see that there are no animal by-products in this recipe. The animal-based protein in this bag comes from chicken meal, pork meal, and chicken fat.

For grain, we are looking at brown rice, rice, oatmeal, and oats. This is a combination of grains that I like because they are all foods that I understand and I am happy to put on my own plate. While dogs and humans dont have the same dietary needs, that doesnt mean that there isnt any crossover, and in general, the grains that are good for me are also good for my dog.

As well as containing one of the most comprehensive nutrient packs Ive seen, there are a few other standout ingredients. The recipe contains some fresh fruits and vegetables, such as cranberries and papayas, which are superfoods for dogs as well as humans.

There is also a nice dollop of salmon oil, which is a great source of both fats and Omega 3 fatty acids, which means a healthy and shiny coat among other things. It also contains added microorganisms to help with digestion, especially of protein.

The big problem with this dry kibble is that it is expensive. It costs twice as much as the previous two foods on this list. This recipe is also high in calories at around 4,000 per kilogram, so should be fed to your dog in moderation.


  • Added microorganisms to aid digestion


  • High in calories

Read Also: Protein Shake Cholesterol

When Does A Dog Need To Switch To Senior Dog Food

Dog life-stage classifications can help you know when your dog is considered a senior. Depending on their breed and size, most dogs are considered to be mature adults between 6 and 8 years old. In most cases, a dog older than 8 years will move into the senior category.

While these age classifications can be helpful in guiding food choices, its important to remember that animals are individuals. Just because they reach a certain age does not mean they are necessarily old on a physiologic scale.

The aging process differs for each dog, and just like with people, it may look, feel, and affect them all differently. If your senior dog is healthy and maintaining a good weight, a new dog food may not be needed.

Your veterinarian is your best ally in determining when your dog is ready to transition to a senior diet.

Popular Articles

Related Articles