Altering the Diet
As your dog ages, his nutritional needs will change too. He's less active and doesn't need the same number of calories he once did. Now more than ever, it's critical to keep your dog at a healthy weight. Feed him the best food you possibly can, preferably a home-cooked diet.
New studies show that senior dogs need more protein in their diets than younger dogs. Protein supports the immune system and promotes cell replacement and enzyme activity, which begins to decline in old age. If your dog is overweight, cut down on the amount of fat in the diet, but make sure she gets 25 percent protein.
Be sure to include whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables with dark colors, such as red grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, beets, green beans, and peas. Don't forget the orange yams, carrots, and squashes; these are the best sources of antioxidant nutrients.
Don't overfeed him. Obesity will create even more health problems for him and shorten his life. If you notice that your senior suddenly looks thin or has a serious loss of appetite, take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Keep your senior on a regular feeding schedule so he knows when to expect his next meal. Feed him two small meals a day rather than one large one. It's easier for him to metabolize the food if he gets it in two installments.