Keeping life stimulating for your senior dog extends to the food he eats, and homemade meals are an effective way to address appetite issues brought on by aging. Tailor a nutritious diet for your picky senior by preparing foods that offer delicious taste, enticing aroma and pleasing texture.
Consult with your dog's veterinarian to determine if your senior dog has any health issues, and if so, develop a special diet based on her recommendations. Do not implement any dietary changes without your vet's approval if your dog has cancer, diabetes, renal or liver disorders, or hypothyroidism.
Address issues common to all aging dogs in the homemade cuisine you prepare for your senior dog. Feed less food to address his slowed metabolism and natural decrease in appetite. Prevent constipation by increasing the fiber content of his meals. Add fiber-rich oat bran and old-fashioned rolled oats to homemade treats. Feed cooked oatmeal or oat bran if he's lost any teeth over the years -- your dog will appreciate the comforting texture. Add nutritious mashed sweet potatoes to the daily meal. Give your best friend a tablespoon of raw honey -- an almost perfect food -- every day to fight bacteria and signs of aging.
Exchange the meat you normally use for fish, such as baked filet of salmon, mackerel or tuna -- palatability is crucial for many seniors and sometimes they get picky about meats they formerly loved, such as beef or chicken. Switch the veggies you normally use -- add cooked parsnips, beets and green beans to meals. Introduce some aromatic herbs, such as fresh parsley, rosemary and oregano into his diet. Toss some fresh, uncooked alfalfa sprouts, chopped zucchini and cooked cauliflower into his meal. Tempt his waning sense of smell with strong-smelling ingredients, such as dehydrated liver, peanut butter and cheese.
If your old dog suddenly becomes picky and refuses to eat, consult with your dog's veterinarian before changing his diet -- it could be health-related or behavioral.
If there are one or more food items your dog really likes, incorporate them into all his meals, rotating them for a variety of nutrients.
Aging kidneys are less capable of removing salt from the system. Avoid feeding commercial treats or any food that is high in sodium. You can control the ingredients in treats by making homemade ones.
The best foods for senior dogs are low-fat and high fiber.
Weight management is important for older dogs with arthritis and joint conditions. While glucosamine and chondoitin supplements may help, maintaining a healthy weight is key.
Items You Will Need
- Sweet potatoes
- Peanut butter
- Dehydrated liver
- Green beans
- Oat bran
- Old-fashioned rolled oats
- Raw honey
- Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats; Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M., Ph.D. and Susan Hubble Pitcairn
- Caring for Your Older Dog; Chris C. Pinney, D.V.M.
- Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog; Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown, D.V.M.
- The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs; Donna Roberts
- WebMD: Behavior Problems With Older Dogs
- Three Dog Bakery Cookbook; Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff
- The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook; Jessica Disbrow Talley and Eric Talley
- The Downing Clinic: Pet Fried Chicken
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