Dog foods are formulated specifically for different life stages and age. Older dogs require a mature dog food to supply up to 20 percent in protein. Mature food contains fewer calories for an older dog who does not exercise as much in his later ages. Mature dog foods are available in wet, soft and kibble form to please your pooch. Mixing the two foods to transition him slowly over to a mature food prevents stomach distress and diarrhea.
Changing Dietary Needs
A dog matures at different rates depending on his breed and age expectancy. When a dog reaches an age of 8 years, he is considered a senior or mature dog. An older dog has different dietary needs than a younger dog. Older dogs are less active and need fewer calories in their food because they spend more time sleeping than when they were young. Mature dog food can prevent obesity in aging dogs.
Fiber for Mature Dogs
As dogs mature, they often have constipation, which can be chronic. Mature dog foods contain additional fiber over immature foods to help a dog pass stools easily without straining.
Transition your dog to a mature diet slowly to prevent stomach upset. Mix 75 percent of his current food with 25 percent of the new food. Feed him at this ratio for four days. On days five through eight, mix the old and new foods at a rate of 50 percent each. For days nine through 12, mix 25 percent of the old food and 75 percent of the new food. On day 13, feed him 100 percent of the new food.
Watch your dog’s potty habits closely when changing foods. If he has loose stools, return to the previous mixture of the two foods for four days. If he tolerates the new change, move forward to the next mixture on the transition schedule. If your dog has chronic constipation, add water equivalent to the amount of kibble and let it sit for 20 minutes to soften his food and add water content. Always supply clean, fresh water for your dog in addition to his food.