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Top 7 Tips For Caring For Your Older Dogs

Old age in dogs is often marked with pain, disease and suffering and increasing levels of diabetes, obesity and cancer.  Food is the foundation of health and luckily it's never too late to improve the way your dog is nourished. Dogs love food and real food even more, the preparation, cooking smells and sheer joy when they have finished and come to you for a cuddle and a big “thank you that was yum”  with a look of love and gratitude.  Bobbi certainly goes through this daily,  patiently waiting in the kitchen until it’s ready. Ok maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it’s taken a while to transition Bobbi to real cooked food and Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22.  

Most people reading this are already fans of real food for dogs but if you want a refresher or are new to real food feeding you can download the ebook here.  Deciding how to make any transition with your dog's diet is always challenging.  Concerns of upsetting their gut or bowel and missing vital nutrients is often cited, and the key reason behind the development of Complete 22.  It’s never too late for change and can be crucial for the older dog with health challenges.  So what are some of the key things to consider if you have an older dog and are aiming to improve their wellbeing?  

Tip 1. Understand The Importance Of Bowel Health In Older Dogs

Keeping your dog's whole gastro-intestinal health humming is probably the number one issue.  Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22 is designed to help with fibre and prebiotics and can be easily added to any diet cooked raw or Kibble. 

Having enough Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) should be a main consideration and can be easily achieved by adding cooked and cooled carbohydrates like rice, potato and pasta. After cooling these become resistant starch and are fuel for the large intestine to convert to SCFA. 

Why are SCFA important?  Because they work as anti-inflammatory to the GI tract and body in general. Great for older humans and dogs alike for the long term inflammation benefits that can be the underlying factor in all the ageing diseases. Also consider added probiotics, I use them daily as Bobbi seems to need the extra boost.

Tip 2. Older Dogs And Protein

It's a myth that older dogs need less protein.  In reality they need more good quality protein - as protein is the key to body repair.  If your dog's kidney health is in doubt please consult your vet about protein requirements.  Besides meat and fish, other good quality protein sources include eggs, cottage cheese, yoghurt and milk - you could even consider pulses, cooked of course.

Tip 3. Older Dogs and Vegetables

Think of vegetables in the same way you would if you were feeding a 2 year old.  Be innovative especially with greens, I know with fussy eaters they usually need to be disguised and integrated into their whole meal.  All yellow vegetables, like pumpkin and carrots are great to keep their bowel healthy and regular.  I prefer freshly cooked and if you have a fussy eater a LITTLE bit of butter makes everything taste even better. 

Tip 4. Older Dogs And Stock or Bone Broth 

This has become very popular and I understand why.  It’s the first thing we think of when feeling unwell, because of all the essential vitamins and minerals it holds, so why not consume it all the time?  Chicken stock is not only great for your old dog’s health but also their soul.

Need some inspiration? Check our previous post on cooking chicken stock.

Tip 5. Older Dogs And Cognitive Decline

Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22 has shown impressive results with senior dogs and is well worth considering irrespective of their current diet. Good quality fats, flaxseed oil and high grade fish oil are all essential for maintaining cognitive development.  Add some to your older dog's diet by including sardines and oily fish.Please Note - farmed salmon may not contain the same levels of oils it once did.

The ground nuts and seeds in Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22 help with the balance of fats.  Antioxidants, such as those found in blueberries are also good for maintaining cognitive function which is why they are a key ingredient in our Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22 formula.  Looking for more?  Try adding a handful of berries with some yoghurt and yellow vegetables all help to keep the synapse firing.

Tip 6. Keeping Older Dogs Active

While this may seem like a no brainer - move it or lose it - there are a lot of older dogs that don't get enough physical activity.  It is very important to try and achieve a daily walk (even if it’s just short) that includes a lot of sniffing which are all great to ignite their life interest and keep them agile.

Tip 7. ​​Aiding Digestion in Older Dogs

Cooking food has always been the advice for people having digestive challenges so I’m guessing its also good for our older furry ones. Cooking also kick starts the production of digestive juices - nothing like a roasting chicken in the oven to get your dog salivating.  Also try raising the food bowl off the floor to aid gravity and help digestion.  A simple footstool with a non-slip mat is all that’s needed.

There you have it, our top tips for caring for your older dog.  Also consider adding Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22 to your older dog's diet.  Why?  Well, apart from what has been already mentioned some of our clients have given us feedback that shows Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22 has also had a positive impact on joint mobility, rough dry coats and missing fur, vitality, bowel and gut health.  Sounds like an easy decision to us!