2 Guides on How to Feed Your Senior Dog for Your Pup's Best Health
Step 8 of 10 in the Dogly Life Stage Feeding Channel
with Cory & Jane of Dogly

Is your dog sneaking up in age but still bouncing around like a puppy? Or maybe starting to show the first signs - or more advanced signs - of lower energy, joint stiffness, and other issues that can come with senior dogs?

Wherever your dog is now in the range of senior dogdom, what you feed your dog can have a huge impact on helping your pup be and stay his or her healthiest self.

Canine nutritionist and Dogly Advocate Alicia Boemi shares the many things you can do to set up your senior dog for good heath and energy through nutrition in these two guides.

What you'll learn in the guides on feeding a senior dog:

You can jump directly into the full guides through the links above. Or here's a quick overview of what you'll find in each first:


Senior Dog Feeding Guide 1: How to Feed Your Senior Dog for His/Her Best Health

Feeding good, clean nutrition every day that's matched to the needs of our dogs as they age can have a profound impact on helping our dogs live long and live well.

Certified canine nutritionist and Dogly Advocate Alicia Boemi, who also happens to be dog mom to three senior dogs, brings it all together to share why and how you can feed your dog to be his/her healthiest, happy self as your dog ages.

What you'll learn in this senior dog feeding guide:

5 things to look for when choosing food to support your senior dog

1) Look for dog food that helps older dogs maintain muscle mass

Senior dogs tend to lose muscle mass which means there's less support for bones and joints, a major cause of pain and diminished mobility in an arthritic dog and older dogs in general.

  • For senior dog care, you'll want foods that deliver more of the high quality protein that your dog's digestive system can absorb to put to work maintaining muscle.
  • Raw or lightly cooked protein is your best choice for muscle-maintaining protein rather than a highly processed dry food.

2) Aim to feed your senior dog bioavailable, high quality protein

As dogs age, their digestive systems tend not to absorb nutrients as easily so giving senior dogs bioavailable protein and foods across the board becomes even more important in a healthy diet. That means fresh or lightly cooked foods - meat, fish, eggs, as well as high-nutrient foods like kale and blueberries.

Alicia also suggests probiotics to give your dog's digestive system a boost to access all the good stuff you're feeding.

And if you're not ready to go all fresh foods yet, Alicia takes you through the simple steps of the 20% rule - how to replace 20% of your dog's current food with nutritious real foods from your fridge or your plate, proven to make a significant difference in reducing the incidence of cancer and other disease in dogs (including younger dogs too).


3) Balance your senior dog's activity level with a healthy metabolism

Alicia explains how nutrition and activity level are interconnected with both helping senior pets maintain a healthy metabolism and contributing to a healthy weight.

4) Choose food that helps your dog maintain a healthy weight for his/her healthiest life

Why does maintaining a healthy weight matter? For your older dog, as in every life stage, optimal weight is key to helping prevent so many diseases (cancer, heart disease, diabetes). And it keeps excess weight off of joints to help prevent mobility issues and keep your senior dog active.

Alicia shares how to feed your dog for ideal weight and what to do if your pup is putting on a few extra pounds (and how to feed to get healthy weight gain which is sometimes also needed for senior dogs).

5) Include fat in your senior dog's diet

Alicia explains which fats are the "good fats" for older dogs and why, plus why you might want to supplement omega 3s and recommendations for a good omega 3 supplement.

A dental care bonus to feeding well...

Healthier teeth are a great side benefit of feeding fresh foods and raw bones. Especially for aging dogs, we all want to keep teeth clean while avoiding the stress of dental work and anesthesia.

When your senior dog has special health issues...

For senior pets with special medical issues, how we give them their needed nutrients has to be factored in. For example, a senior pet with kidney disease limiting phosphorous intake needs to be aware of protein, while an aging dog prone to pancreatitis has to limit fat. With these and other diseases/conditions, you'll want to consult a canine nutritionist who can help with a nutrition plan, foods, and recipes that support your dog.

These are the simple highlights of what Alicia shares on feeding your senior dog to thrive; you'll find all the details in the full guide here.

And next up, a canine nutritionist's pro tip on a favorite way to boost your senior dog's immune system...


Senior Dog Feeding Guide 2: How to Boost Your Senior Dog's Immune System

A strong immune system is important to your dog's health at every life stage for so many reasons, and it's certainly true for a senior pet's health.

In this guide, Alicia shares a favorite insider pro tip (as a certified canine nutritionist and dog mom to three senior dogs) for an immune-booster she loves for senior dogs, really all dogs who can use extra immune support: astragalus.

What you'll learn:

  • How astragalus works to boost your pup's immune system

As an adaptogen, it's an herb that has the ability to help the body resist stressors whether they're physical, chemical, or biological stressors. It also protects the liver, helps liver function, and promotes regeneration of liver cells. Also important in senior dog care, it helps with heart disease and promotes cardiovascular health.

  • What an adaptogen is and how it works in the body (dog and human!)
  • Why it's a beloved herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) used for thousands of years
  • What the active ingredients are in astragalus that give it its medicinal properties
  • How astragalus works as an antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and more
  • How pet parents can easily make astragalus part of a daily diet (including how much to sprinkle on your pup's food by weight)

For all the specifics on astragalus and why and how to make it part of your dog's diet, jump in here for the full guide.


Recommended Products

Check out the Life Stage Feeding Channel on Dogly

Now that you know how to feed your senior dog to be healthy and stay healthy, check out other guides to feeding for life stage like why feeding your dog for the adult life stage matters and how to know which nutrients your adult dog needs if you'd like to learn more about nutrient and energy needs for adult dogs.

Or you can always continue expanding your nutritional knowledge for your dog in learning which nutrients your dog could be missing in his/her diet or why protein matters and good high-protein food sources in the Basic Nutrition Channel.

Hop over to the Life Stage Feeding Channel to ask any questions in the Community discussion with Alicia. We're here for you as navigate your dog's life stage!

Cory & Jane of Dogly

Dogly started with our own dogs and quickly became about yours. We want our dogs to live long and we want them to live well, to go where we go and do more together with us. That’s why we created Dogly. To help you live well with your dog.