Feeding a Senior Dog: Seven Functional Foods
Like humans, as a dog ages, their body will be less able to fight off disease and recover from daily physical and mental stress. As a result, it is crucial that a senior dog is fed a healthy and functional diet, so that they will live a long and high quality life.
From a macro perspective, most normal senior dogs should be fed less carbohydrates and more protein than the typical ‘senior diet’ food would provide. For this reason, I don’t recommend commercially available senior food. Rather, I recommend choosing dog foods that are full of whole animal and fish based proteins and that contain multiple ‘super’ food ingredients.
The senior dog will also be less active than their younger self, and protein can help minimize muscle loss associated with reduced activity. Of course, as a dog’s activity declines, so too will their daily calorie needs. Pay attention to portion sizes and treats so that your senior doesn’t become supersized.
From a micro perspective, there are a whole host of super foods that can provide a plethora of health benefits to a senior dog. Below are seven of my favorite functional foods to include in a senior dog’s diet.
Seven Healthy and Functional Foods for Senior Dogs
- Apples– one of my favorites, apples can help with joint and heart function, and help keep the digestive system healthy.
- Berries– full of antioxidants, berries can help with brain health and protect against cancer.
- Coconut Oil– this somewhat controversial medium chain fat can help to keep a senior dog’s brain sharp.
- Cranberries– great for the elimination systems (overall bladder health) and full of antioxidants.
- Sweet Potatoes– helps support eye health and strong bones.
- Turmeric (Curcumin)– an antioxidant that might prevent cancer, helps reduce inflammation, and can help the digestive system.
- Wild Caught Fish– a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and can help with arthritis, support the immune system, and protect the heart. Wild Salmon, Halibut and smaller fish like sardines are the best choices.