The canine digestive system is different from humans. That’s why it’s important for us to understand how dogs digest their food so we can give them the proper digestive care. Knowing so will not only help us give them the right pet food diet but will also make us aware when something’s wrong with them.
The first few months of a puppy are termed the “immunity gap”. It is at this time that puppies are more susceptible to digestive problems like diminished efficiency in digesting nutrients or microflora imbalance. This is also the time when you give your puppies immunity shots or vaccinations.
“Maternal immunity is bestowed on the puppy…in its mother’s ‘first milk’. The mother’s body will produce colostrum—a specific type of milk that is highly concentrated in antibodies—that will help support their little one’s immune system.”
Your pups’ digestive health
Puppies grow 20 times faster than adult dogs. They need three times more calories per kilo of food. That means they require a special diet for their physical development. It is therefore recommended that a specially formulated growth food be given to puppies at intervals that are evenly distributed to prevent distending or stretching their little stomachs.
It is ideal to feed your puppy four meals a day up until around four months, after which you can switch to three meals a day until your pup’s six months old. By this time, you can start feeding him two meals a day. Because puppies are prone to digestive problems, watch out for any signs of sensitivities connected to the food you’re feeding them. Check out Addiction Foods’ Salmon Bleu for Puppies.
Diet for adult dogs
Small breeds usually reach adulthood on their 9th month while large breeds on their 15th. When they hit adulthood, you have to feed them specially formulated dog food for adults. By this time, your dogs have built up their immunity and will not get sick easily. But you still have to watch what they eat.
Specific dog food formulas target a dog’s nutritional needs. Consult your veterinarian or dog nutritionist so you will know what to feed them. But in general, pet food with probiotics can improve the digestion of your canine pets by rebalancing the microflora in your dog’s gut.
Proteins from high-quality sources also aid in maintaining your dog’s digestive system healthy. It also helps prevent their digestive sensitivities from getting worse. Pet food from New Zealand boasts of premium quality as its ingredients are responsibly sourced from one of the world’s cleanest and purest place to manufacture pet food. This includes high-quality novel proteins from salmon, lamb, venison, brushtail or duck, and even kangaroo.
Adult dogs also need fiber in their pet food. The right balance of fiber helps dogs easily absorb nutrients without causing their gut unnecessary stress. Take into consideration your adult dog’s lifestyle and breed when choosing a diet that will support his digestive health. For instance, large dog breeds need larger kibbles. That’s because if they chew on smaller kibbles, these might get clogged in their throats.
Dogs reach their senior years depending on their breed. Small breeds age faster and may be considered seniors when they reach their 10th or 12th year. Large breeds, on the other hand, may be considered seniors when they reach their 5th or 6th year. Many veterinarians though consider a dog senior when they hit their 7th or 8th year.
When dogs get old, their health and stamina slow down. Metabolism also slows down so senior dogs require fewer calories from their pet food. Some senior dogs though may require more calories if they have digestion problems. Always consult a vet to see what kind of pet food formula is suited for your senior dog.
Senior dogs having digestive problems are common. That means you, as a pet parent, should be watchful of your old canine pets so that the problem won’t get worse. The symptoms are restlessness, vomiting or regurgitation, painful or bloated stomach, refusal of food, and diarrhea.
Causes of digestive problems
Here are some of the causes:
- Spoiled food, fatty food, food that your senior canine pet should not eat.
- Food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivity
- Illness, virus, infection or inflammation
- Inability to absorb nutrients
Digestive care for senior dogs
Because senior dogs require fewer calories, you can break the amount of food you give them into 4 or 5 equal portions. While you’re actually feeding them less, your pet will have something exciting to look forward to several times a day.
Pet food that’s easily digestible might be recommended by your vet. You might also need to supplement it with probiotics just to keep his gut healthy. As always, ask your vet what’s the best supplement for your pet.
A good senior diet for dogs
Quoting from MedicAnimal, here are the characteristics of a good senior diet for dogs:
“[A] good, well-balanced diet that is lower in calories, higher in fiber, and has adequate protein and fat. For some older dogs, you can continue to feed their regular food, but in a smaller quantity. Specially formulated senior diets are lower in calories and help to create a feeling of fullness. If your dog has significantly decreased kidney function, then a diet that is lower in protein will lower the workload for the kidneys. Lower fat usually translates to lower calories; so many senior diets have a fat level of around 8 to 12%. Older dogs are more prone to develop constipation, so senior diets are higher in fiber at around 3 to 5%. If your senior dog will eat dry food, it will help to control tartar build-up and reduce gum disease.”
Lifting from The Grateful Dog, a senior dog should have the following in his diet:
- Higher fiber – this helps with gastrointestinal health
- Less fat and calories – senior dogs don’t require as much energy as younger dogs
- Higher quality protein sources – to help maintain body weight without putting a strain on organs
- Omega fatty acids – these help with everything from the joints to the skin and coat
- Antioxidants – these can help to slow down the overall aging process, making symptoms much milder
Addiction Foods have a wide array of dog food products that have these qualities suitable for senior dogs.
Water is also important for senior dogs. So make sure fresh water is available and easily accessible. Make sure your pet is drinking enough water and does not get dehydrated. An increase in water intake is a warning sign that your senior dog might be sick from something. For the record, dogs should drink ½ to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. Example: a 25-pound dog should drink around 1.5 to 3 cups of water daily.
Senior dogs will also benefit from food supplements for their nutritional needs too. That’s because “older dogs absorb fewer vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes through the intestinal tract, and lose more of them through the kidneys, and urinary tract.”
For instance, if your pet suffers from arthritis (which a lot of senior dogs have), he might be given vitamins and supplements like glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate. Other food supplements for senior dogs that will help promote gut health are EFAs or essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6, and probiotics.
Addiction Foods believes that understanding how your dog’s dietary needs and health are the first steps to giving your pet a long and healthy life. Check out our Nutrition Advisor on our home page to discover the right pet food for your pet.
We have gone further by producing and distributing pet food for cats and dogs under strict safety measures. Your favorite pet food brands will still be available at your local store. Stay safe and shop responsibly. Avail of contactless online delivery with our online retail partners in New Zealand, Singapore, or the USA.
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