Do dogs eat less as they age?

In this brief discussion, we will answer the question “Do dogs eat less as they age?” We will also talk about why a dog might be eating less and ways to monitor a dog’s diet.

Do dogs eat less as they age?

Yes, it is possible that your dog starts to eat less with an increase in its age. As they get older, dogs begin to lose interest in mealtimes and their needs change. This could be due to a number of reasons. 

Other than the age factor, it is possible that a dog is eating less because of some underlying health concern, stress, or a change in routine.

What if a dog’s appetite has changed suddenly?

It is possible that a dog’s appetite has suddenly changed due to certain external or internal stressors or both. Just like humans, stressors can affect a dog’s appetite, causing a decrease in the amount of food a dog would normally eat. 

It is important to know how to monitor a dog’s routine and behavior at mealtimes as it plays an essential role in being aware of the dog’s overall health. In case of sickness, this will also help in identifying any issues that a dog might be facing. 

Make slight adjustments in a dog’s meals, however, if the problem persists you should definitely see a veterinarian.

Do dogs get tired of having the same meal?

Yes, it is possible. However, to solve this problem an occasional treat should be introduced in between meal times. It is not recommended to change the type or brand of food so often because it can make a dog fall sick.

Once a good type or brand of food has been found that suits a dog, it is best to stick with it. If it is required to change the food type or brand, it is best to do it gradually over a few days, starting by mixing it with the previous meal a dog is used to having.

Why else do dogs eat less than normal? 

There are a number of reasons why dogs eat less than normal at times or their appetite changes and it does not always have to be taken as a sign of possible underlying health issues. It is, however, still important that you see a veterinarian for a check-up if the change is a sudden one.

Loss of appetite can be due to cancer, infections, liver disease, pain, dental issues and kidney failure, among other possible illnesses. Weather also affects a dog’s food intake. Dogs exert less physical energy during summers which also means that they eat less.

Why do dogs’ eating habits change as they grow old? 

This is because as dog’s age, their metabolism slows down and they require less food to function with fewer calories to burn. This is also why older dogs have the tendency to become overweight.

Older dogs require more protein-rich foods that are easy to digest to avoid weight gain. This also helps in improving muscle mass. Be careful though, as excess protein can cause pressure on a dog’s kidneys.

When do dogs need special diets?

Dogs require special diets in case they suffer from a health condition. It is advised that you see a veterinarian or a nutritionist for this purpose, however, for your knowledge, we have gathered the following examples:

  • Dogs with diabetes are recommended to have a diet that is rich in fiber. It is essential that a dog remains slim to allow the body to effectively use insulin.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and limit sodium intake in a dog’s diet if it has heart disease. Dogs may benefit from supplements like taurine and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Dogs experiencing kidney problems should have limited amounts of sodium and protein in their diet to avoid putting stress on the kidneys.
  • Dogs with dental issues should be given soft foods or foods that they can easily chew with poor or missing teeth.

What are the ways to monitor a dog’s appetite?

It is essential to monitor a dog’s overall health to increase its lifespan. Keep in mind the following when tracking a dog’s eating habits and overall behavior:

  • Notice signs that may point towards possible stressors that a dog might be facing, such as unusual activity or sleeping patterns. Try to create a comfortable and safe environment for the dog at mealtimes.
  • Check for any signs of swelling or wounds on the dog’s body and inside its mouth that might be the cause of less food intake.
  • Is the food that is being fed fresh and appealing to a dog? Try adding some warm water to the dog’s food or try feeding some plain boiled chicken which will help you understand whether a dog is just rejecting its regular meal.
  • Also keep in mind external factors that may have caused a huge change in a dog’s regular routine, such as if the dog has been shifted to a different home recently or if there have been any changes with food or mealtimes.
  • Show your love and support rather than punishing a dog for not eating.

Conclusion

We answered the question “Do dogs eat less as they age?” We also talked about why a dog might be eating less and ways to monitor a dog’s diet.

References

https://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/articles/feeding-an-elderly-dog-how-a-dogs-dietary-requirements-change-with-age

https://spiritdogtraining.com/old-dog-not-eating/

https://midogguide.com/maintenance-and-care/do-dogs-eating-habits-change-as-they-get-older.html

https://www.dogtopia.com/blog/is-your-dog-experiencing-a-sudden-change-in-appetite/

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