How Often Should You Feed An Older Dog? (Keeping Your Senior Dog Happy And Healthy)

Caring for our pets is a fundamental part of being a pet owner. But, just like you care for a puppy differently than an adult dog, you’ll have to change your caring routine for senior dogs.

We all know those hungry eyes as your pooch sits and stares at you. It’s hard to resist, but sometimes, you must be careful when feeding senior dogs certain foods

How Often Should You Feed An Older Dog (Keeping Your Senior Dog Happy And Healthy)

As dogs grow older, they won’t have as much energy to exert, so playtime and running about chasing balls are not as every day as they once were.

If your dog is getting older and you’re wondering how often you should feed them, stick around, as we have all the answers and more.

We will consider factors when feeding your older pet and the proper care routine you should follow.

Key Points

As long as owners care for their dogs properly and feed them a healthy diet, their pooch can have a happy, healthy life well into old age.

Overall, as a dog gets older, its diet will need altering. Whilst you can feed a dog smaller portions of food more regularly throughout the day, you should always stay within their daily allowance.

“Woof! All this talk of food is making me hungry! Can I have a treat?”

Only one! It’s generally recommended that senior dogs aren’t fed more than twice a day, but this can all depend on their size, weight, and energy level.

An active large old dog will need to eat more than a small, lethargic senior dog.

If you’re unsure how much to feed your senior dog, consult your veterinarian for professional advice.

A Dog’s Body Changes With Age

A Dog’s Body Changes With Age

“Woof! My body feels different. My bones are aching more and my belly hurts.”

If your dog could talk, wouldn’t life be so much easier?

Well, while your pooch probably doesn’t know what’s happening inside their bodies as they age, science luckily does.

Like humans, a dog’s body changes with age. It’s part of the natural aging process after all.

They will usually need additional support for their digestive and immune systems, and because you’re in charge of their diet, it’s up to you to provide this support and boost their health.

As dogs age, their metabolism also slows down, making it more difficult for them to maintain a healthy weight, but your dog must always maintain a healthy weight.

If they become overweight, they can start to suffer from specific health issues and diseases, such as:

  • A higher risk of cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Osteoarthritis and accelerated joint degeneration
  • Hypertension
  • Anesthetic complications
  • Urinary bladder stones

Such health problems can lead to your pet dying at a younger age. Therefore, most older dogs need to eat less food, and you need to choose foods that are lower in calories and higher in nutrients.

A healthy, balanced diet for a senior dog should consist of foods containing EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), two examples of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

These can be found in fish oil and can aid in the reduction of inflammation caused by obesity.

Dietary protein is also critical in a senior dog’s diet, especially a weight-loss diet.

This protein can help promote muscle strength and lean body mass. Also, dietary fiber is essential as it has a low digestibility.

When mixed with high protein, satiety is enhanced, helping a dog feel fuller.

Senior dogs tend to require high protein to help offset the adverse effects of aging on the turnover of protein in the body.

All in all, a lack of protein hastens the loss of lean body mass.

“Woof! Hey, As I get older, my body changes and I need your help to stay healthy.

Can you give me food that has fewer calories but is packed with all the important nutrients I need to keep my energy up and my tail wagging?”

You got it! Let’s look at some foods you should include in your dog’s diet as they age

Keep Fat Levels Down

As dogs age, their nutritional needs change, and it’s important to adjust their diet accordingly.

Senior dogs may benefit from foods that are lower in calories and higher in protein, fiber, and antioxidants to support their aging bodies.

Some good food options for older dogs include high-quality protein sources like chicken, fish, and eggs and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables like blueberries, carrots, and spinach.

It’s also a good idea to choose foods formulated specifically for senior dogs, as they often contain ingredients supporting joint health and cognitive function.

Keeping their diet lower in fat is vital as their metabolism will not be as strong as it once was.

The lower the fat content, the better chance of keeping illness at bay, such as obesity.

“Woof! But, I love beef! Is that too fat?”

Red meats, such as beef, have higher fat content, so it is recommended to switch to leaner meats as your dog ages, like chicken and turkey. These will provide the staple proteins needed in their diets.

How Often Should You Feed An Older Dog?

How Often Should You Feed An Older Dog

Hey buddy, you’re getting older now, and I’ve been wondering how often I should feed you.

“Woof! That’s a good question. I’ve noticed that my appetite isn’t what it used to be.”

Yes, I’ve been doing some research, and older dogs generally need fewer calories, but they still need a balanced diet.

“Woof, I definitely want to stay healthy and active for as long as possible.”

Let’s switch you to senior dog food designed for your age and health needs.

And maybe we should split your meals into smaller portions throughout the day to keep your metabolism going.

“Woof, that sounds like a good plan. I’ll be looking forward to my new food and schedule!”

Great! I’ll also keep an eye on your weight and adjust your feeding amounts as needed.

“Woof, thank you, owner! I’m lucky to have you looking out for me.”

How easy life would be if we could chat with our pets!

It’s important to note that even when feeding your canine smaller portions, you still should not exceed their usual daily allowance.

Moreover, one dog will be different to the next. One may become more hungry than another, meaning you may need to give them a greater amount of regular food on a daily basis.

That being said, you need to understand how food motivates your dog, as some can quickly get into a habit of wanting more food all the time.

As always, seek advice from a veterinarian if you’re unsure about your particular canine’s diet.

“Woof! But wait, I’m a German Shepherd but my buddy Milo is a Scottish Terrier? We’re both the same age but should our diets be different?”

In truth, yes – in the doggies world, there is no approach that fits all sizes and breeds.

Because there are so many different breeds and sizes of dogs, there are no set rules regarding how much food a senior dog should be given and how often.

Generally, it is recommended that senior dogs are fed at most twice a day.

The best routine is to give them a bowl of food in the morning and then in the evening. This will help support their health and well-being.

How much you feed them will depend on their size and weight.

Because their calorie intake will be lowered, we recommend sprinkling kibble into your doggo’s bowl.

Here’s a little guide to give you an estimate of how much to feed your senior dog each day:

  • Smaller breeds – 150 to 200 grams per day
  • Medium breeds – 200 to 250 grams per day
  • Larger breeds – 250 to 300 grams per day

You can also go for smaller portions of food in your dog’s bowl that are fed frequently throughout the day.

Just find a quiet space for your dog to eat in peace, and if you have another dog, feed them at the same time but in separate rooms.

Make things as easy as possible for your older dog, who will need more support and care as they age.

Healthy Treats For Your Doggo During The Day

If your dog is constantly hungry, you can feed them some additional healthy treats, such as vegetables and fruit.

Yes, the odd dog treat is fine to give to your pet but not on a regular basis.

Here are some great vegetables and fruits to include in your dog’s diet:

  • Broccoli (can be steamed or raw but only given in small amounts)
  • Carrots (can be fed boiled, raw, or steamed)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Green Beans (raw, steamed, or boiled)
  • Celery
  • Sweet potatoes and potatoes (never feed these raw to a dog. Instead, they can be plain, steamed, or boiled)
  • Peas (garden peas, sugar snap peas, and mangetout are suitable, but not tinned peas)
  • Sweetcorn (the corn must be cut off the cob before feeding to your pet and be freshly cooked with no additives)
  • Apples (remove the core and seeds beforehand)
  • Watermelons (remove the rind and seeds)
  • Bananas (only feed in tiny amounts due to their high sugar content)
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges (always remove the skin and seeds)
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