Older dogs have a greater chance of gaining weight and also losing muscle mass, but a few simple steps could help keep your dog in a good body condition by helping reduce any weight gain and maintaining muscle mass. As in ageing humans, older dogs also need to maintain as much of their muscle mass as possible.
MORE TIME TOGETHER
Research shows dogs' average lifespan could be extended by nearly 2 years1 simply by maintaining healthy weight and feeding to an ideal body condition; not too fat, not too thin.
In dog terms this extra 2 years is significant and highlights how as owners we have a huge impact on our dog’s health and lifespan. And yet, obesity is now considered to be the most common nutritional disease of dogs2.
CHOOSE THE BEST FOOD FOR YOUR DOG
If you think your older dog needs to lose weight we recommend discussing this with your vet and feeding EUKANUBA Veterinary Diets Restricted Calorie or EUKANUBA Daily Care Overweight, Sterilised. Both formulas contain a low fat level and reduced calories, and are enriched with L-carnitine (helps to burn fat) and high quality animal proteins for strong muscles. Both these formulas can help redefine your older dog's waistline.
If you're certain your dog doesn't need to lose weight then remember this - prevention is better than cure. Don’t wait for the weight to accumulate and the muscle to be lost, act to prevent it first. When your dog reaches the beginning of the "more mature" years, (which is between 5+ to 8+ years dependent on your dog's breed size), he is likely to benefit from a diet specifically designed for older dogs which, amongst other benefits can help to reduce the risk of age associated weight gain and muscle loss. The importance of providing a suitable diet designed for mature and senior dogs cannot be underestimated.
Many dogs' lead sedentary lives with a reported 12 to 13% decrease in daily energy requirement by around seven years of age, but even a moderate increase in exercise will help improve your dog's fitness and keep his muscles active. According to a study by the University of Portsmouth, dogs motivate their owners to exercise every day even when they don't feel like it. Recent research has also shown that dog owning people embarking on their own weight loss programme are more successful in their endeavours than non-dog-owning people!
You see it's our responsibility as owners to keep our dogs as close to ideal body condition throughout life and into old age. If your dog is approaching the "more mature" years try one of our EUKANUBA Mature & Senior formulas, tailored to the size of your dog, and see the visible benefits for yourself. Through a careful control of fat calories and L-carnitine, each formula can help manage potential weight gain, and to help maintain muscle mass, every formula provides high quality protein at a carefully controlled level.
- Kealy RD, Lawler DF, et al. Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association May 1, 2002, Vol. 220, No. 9, Pages 1315-1320
- Toll PW, Yamka RM, et al. Obesity. In; Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, Editors Hand, Thatcher, Remillard, Roudebush, Novotny 5th Edition, 2010, Chapter 27.