Include these foods in your older dog’s diet to meet its specific nutritional needs.
Here are 10 of the best foods you can feed your senior dogs:
- Yogurt is a source of probiotics (beneficial bacteria that can help with digestive problems). Add a spoonful of plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt with live cultures to each meal.
- Eggs. Providing protein in its most bioavailable form, eggs are associated with several health benefits. Cook eggs to make them easier to digest. Note that dogs don’t have to worry about high cholesterol the way that people do. Eggs can consist of one half of your dog’s diet. Most people feed no more than two eggs a day to a large dog (more than 60 pounds), one egg to a medium-size dog (30 to 60 pounds), and ? of an egg to a small dog (less than 30 pounds). Another option would be to give a small dog one egg every other day.
- Liver. Exceptionally nutrient-dense, the liver is packed with vitamins and trace minerals. Feed small amounts regularly. Feeding large amounts at once can lead to loose stools. The liver should be no more than about 5 percent of the total diet. For a 50-pound dog, that comes out to about 1 ounce of liver daily. A 25-pound dog might eat 1/2 ounce of liver daily, or 1 ounce every other day. A tiny dog would eat even less, maybe 1/2 ounce every other day, while a 100-pound dog could have 2 ounces a day or 4 ounces every other day.
- Fish provides omega-3 fatty acids that support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and contribute to skin and coat health. Canned fish with bones, such as sardines, jack mackerel, and pink salmon, are better than tuna. Rinse the fish before feeding to reduce sodium. A 50-pound dog could eat 1 or 2 ounces of fish (two to four small sardines) daily, while a 25-pound dog can eat half that much, and a 100-pound dog can eat twice as much. Another option is to feed a whole meal of fish once or twice a week.
- Broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts provide antioxidants and other nutrients that might help prevent cancer. Limit amounts if they cause gas. These vegetables are best served cooked because the raw form can suppress thyroid function if you feed too much.
- Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, also found in other yellow-orange vegetables. They are also a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants. Sweet potatoes and other starchy foods should always be cooked.
- Berries. The antioxidants in blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries might help prevent cancer. Berries also provide fiber.
- Chicken. Dark meat provides more nutrition than ultra-low-fat chicken breast. Remove skin for dogs that need fewer calories.
- Beef. Red meat provides iron, zinc, and other nutrients. Feeding a mix of poultry and ruminant meats, such as beef and lamb, supplies a wider variety of fatty acids than feeding only one or the other. For older dogs, cook beef and drain some of the fat.
- Oatmeal. Oats and other whole grains provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, as well as fiber that can help some dogs with digestive issues.