Having a senior dog takes special care and extra attention. I recently came to face it as my frenchie, Stripes was diagnosed with liver failure. I frenetically started researching senior pet diet, liver diet and alternative ways to help prolong her life and improve her condition. Will definitely touch on her prognosis and diet changes in an upcoming article. But for now I would like to share some of my findings with you guys. I am a huge of advocate of raw feeding but in her case we had to switch to home cooked meals. We also had to find ways to supercharge it with all the extra vitamins and supplements a dog in her age needs. (She is either 9 or 10, we are not sure as she is a puppy mill rescue.) So here is my 7 strong list of the best superfoods for senior dogs.
Any oily fish is a nutritional powerhouse that is great for active dogs. They’re packed with vitamin B12, omega-3 oils, protein, vitamin D and more. Omega-3 fats support your senior dog’s immune system. They help in maintaining a healthy skin and coat, and prevent excessive shedding. Not a bad trick as cleaning up dog hair around the house can be a pain. Pack them into your pup’s diet, either by adding cooked salmon (NOT raw) or wild caught sardines. Not an everyday food, oily fish is better off served once or twice a week for optimum health.
A great choice for senior pooches with sensitive stomaches. Pumpkin is a top source of fibre which promotes healthy digestion. A good dose of pumpkin keeps things ‘moving’ along the digestive tract. And this is definitely something all seniors need! Super versatile, you can add cooked pumpkin to your dog’s meals or you can mash and add it to your favorite dog treat recipes. Canned pumpkin puree is also a great idea, especially if your pup has difficulties adjusting to the taste. You can add one or two spoonfuls on top of his normal food, or mix it with grained or chopped meat. Mixing chopped, cooked chicken breast with pumpkin puree, oats, and chopped broccoli would make for a super delicious recipe.
When you’re a senior, it is important to be able to go regularly… A top source of soluble fibre, oats help seniors dogs do just that. It’s also a great way to keep overweight pups fuller for longer, as maintaining an ideal body weight for seniors is essential. They can be served in homemade treats or cooked and added to their regular food. Be sure not to add any sugar or flavorings, just the oats cooked in water. If your pup does not like the taste, you can always prepare it in vegetable or chicken stock. Or even better have the oats soak in bone broth to make a super healthy and delicious treat. Click to read up on the best oats to include in your dog’s diet.
Chia seeds are packed with vitamin C, omega 3 fibre. This is definitely a super food that outperforms a lot of other seeds in many ways. Great for supporting digestion in senior dogs, Chia also contains 20% Omega 3 ALA – an essential fatty acid which supports brain and heart function. Chia also performs well as an anti-inflammatory agent for skin and irritation problems in senior dogs. How to use it? You can either sprinkle a small amount on your dog’s meal daily, or combine with water to form as gel which acts as the perfect egg replacement in dog treat recipes. You can feed it to your dog once or twice a week for best results.
Sweet potatoes are nutritious, high in fiber, very filling, and delicious. They can be eaten boiled, baked, steamed, or fried. (Try dehydrated sweet potatoes for a healthy treat!) This vegetable is high in fibre and low in proteins, so if you feed a protein rich diet you must serve lean poultry or eggs with it. It is a good source of vitamins A, C, B6, B5, E, potassium and manganese to mention a few. They are much much healthier than regular potatoes, which by the way you should never feed to your pup.
Eggs are a great source of very digestible protein, riboflavin, and selenium. For some dogs with digestive upset, eggs can give a little protein boost. Adding eggs to your dog’s food is a healthy treat. Can be given cooked or raw, although research suggests, that raw eggs can cause biotin deficiency. I think it can work in moderation. If you choose not to give them raw, they either try boiled or scramble them on coconut oil. Adding no extra salt is the best option, however adding spices on top can help boost their immune system.
This full-of-fiber food helps to clean your dog’s teeth while he chomps and can even freshen their breath. Apples are a healthy source of Vitamin A, C and phytonutrients (a fancy word for natural chemicals found in plants). Healthy teeth and gums in seniors is majorly important, making this a double win! Dogs love them served fresh with the skin on (to keep all those healthy chemicals) – just be always sure to remove any seeds as they are toxic. If you prefer incorporating it into your pets daily meal, try shredding an apple and mix it with grained, cooked turkey breast, rice and chia seeds. This meal is packed with all the healthy nutrients your dog needs for a daily serving.
I hope this little list of superfoods for senior dogs will help you redesign your pet’s diet. Remember, this list is by no means comprehensive. Make sure to consult your vet before switching diets.