How important are senior diets?

Gwyn (40ish lb Lab/Border collie mix) is about 8 or 9 years old now. I've had her since a puppy and have periodically tried senior...


Gwyn (40ish lb Lab/Border collie mix) is about
8 or 9 years old now. I’ve had her since a puppy
and have periodically tried senior diets with her
for the last few years. Every time I try a senior
diet, I have to increase her food immensely or she
loses a lot of weight (I know senior foods are reduced
in fat). Gwyn is in excellent health. She has no
issues showing in her bloodwork, urinalysis, or
movement. In fact, she still acts like a puppy
when playing with our 11 month old pup.

My question is, are senior diets really necessary
to give senior dogs to insure good health? I know
many senior foods have added glucosamine (which is
rarely enough to really offset arthritis), but I
don’t know if doing a senior diet will really
benefit her.

Raleigh, NC

Senior diets are tailored to be appropriate for older pets’ metabolisms and special needs. Typically, they are lower in calories because older pets have slower metabolisms and sometimes gain weight. They may be low in protein to help protect the kidneys. Sometimes they have added vitamins or supplements such as glucosamine.

Senior diets are a great idea for many pets, but they are by no means mandatory for every older dog. After all, everyone ages differently.

If your dog has a problem with losing weight (must be nice!) on senior diets, then it is fine to feed a high-quality regular diet. If you want her to have glucosamine, you can use a supplement.

Most high-quality foods provide complete and total nutrition for all life stages. This means that for healthy older dogs, senior diets are not mandatory.

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