In some ways, age really is just a number. There is absolutely no cut and dried answer. I think the better question is, what are a couple nutritional factors that you might find in a senior formula food?
- Senior formula food will usually be lower in fat content. Most animals see a slow in their metabolism or may have a lower activity level and it gets tougher to keep extra weight off.
- A premium producer will probably add high-quality glucosamine and chondroitin to keep aging joints healthy. If you have a large breed your normal adult food may already have an adequate dosage added to your food.
- Did you know pet food has salt? A senior formula will have a lower amount of sodium to avoid hypertension.
- Added Nutraceuticals such as stabilized Vitamin C and Taurine. These are strong anti-oxidants to preserve healthy cells and provide good cardiac health.
- Added Seaweed and fibers to promote lower tartar and healthy teeth.
- Balanced Calcium and Phosphorus for healthy bones.
- Provide a good fiber source for healthy digestion.
So, if you are reading through this list and thinking; ”those things sound like healthy things for just about any dog” … You are not necessarily wrong. Not all older dogs eat senior food, and some younger dogs eat senior food. Let’s talk about some examples of when this might happen.
Some examples of when to consider a senior formula for a younger dog include:
- A dog with kidney problems needing a lower protein to energy ratio
- A dog with any type of cardiac disease, regardless of age. Some pet owners will be advised to choose a food with a low sodium level.
- Dogs with pancreatic problems need to eat a food with a low-fat content. Pancreatitis or other pancreatic disorders can make it difficult for a dog to process fat.
- Some dogs that do not have a high activity level and are seeking a low-fat option for weight control may choose a food with the attributes of a senior formula. The low-fat content coupled with the likely addition of joint supplements are both positive things for a pet carrying extra weight.
A couple of examples of older dogs that might not have their needs best met by a senior formula include:
- Dogs with cancer or other chronic illness that make it a struggle to keep weight on might prompt looking for a more robust recipe.
- An active pet needing more energy content.
The easy answer…. ASK AN EXPERT. You can’t just go by the name or even the label if you want to know to everything. Therefore, it is important to work with a pet nutrition expert to match the nutrition to the needs of your pet. A pet food expert understands how these ingredients react in the body of an animal and under what circumstances they will benefit an individual pet.
When did you make the transition?