Is your dog seven years or older? It may be hard to believe, but he is approaching his senior years. And if he’s a large breed, he may reach his senior years even earlier. Like humans, dogs undergo physical changes as they age, causing their nutritional needs to change as well.
That’s why it’s important to feed your dog the right food to nourish his aging body and mind. When choosing a dog food for senior dogs, consider the following factors:
Older dogs are usually less physically active than younger dogs, which makes them prone to gaining weight. Dog food for older dogs often has fewer calories to help older dogs maintain a healthy weight and ideal body condition. If your older dog is not as active as he used to be, you may want to consider a senior formula that has fewer calories than his adult formula to help prevent weight gain.
Even if your dog has slowed a bit, you still want him to be strong and active. To help support mobility and strong muscles, dog food for senior dogs often has higher protein levels than adult formulas. In fact, increased dietary protein can actually help slow age-related loss of lean body mass and support a healthy immune system. Glucosamine is also added to senior formulas to help support healthy joints.
As some dogs age, their brain cells may have difficulty obtaining the right amount of energy, causing their mental processes to change. Older dogs may also show less interaction with you and lower engagement in daily activities.
The brain uses a tremendous amount of energy. This energy travels in the blood, and reaches the brain cells through glucose pathways. The problem is that some senior dogs may have difficulty absorbing glucose in the brain at the proper levels. As dogs age, their capacity to use glucose as an energy source decreases due to wear and tear in the cell. This leads to loss of basic cognitive functions.
Purina set out to provide energy to the brain through a second pathway. After looking at hundreds of ingredients, we tested an alternate source of energy called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which enter the cell through an alternate pathway, to see if they could change the behavior of senior dogs. Fatty acids in MCTs, sourced from enhanced botanical oils, are easy for your dog to convert into brain-friendly fuel that feeds the neurons and keeps the brain cells active. The results were even better than we expected. After only a short time consuming MCTs, dogs were making fewer errors and adapting to new situations faster.