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Author Topic:   feeding a senior dog
duckling
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posted 09-29-2003 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for duckling     Edit/Delete Message
Hi! I actually have a few related questions that I'm hoping to get some opinions on: Do senior dogs really require less protein and fat in their diet, or is this mainly for prevention of obesity? Other than keeping phosphorus levels low, are there any special requirements to keep in mind when looking at food labels? Could I feed an diet formulated for adult dogs (with low phosphorus) to a healthy older dog at his ideal weight? As protein and fat are needed for muscle, skin, and coat health, I'm reluctant to reduce them unless there is a real benefit. What percentages of protein and fat are considered ideal? Thanks!

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goob
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posted 09-30-2003 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for goob     Edit/Delete Message
Well, I feed my 10 yr old pit bull Natural Balance food, the normal adult formula. She's still fairly high energy, and I was worried about muscle wasting and the like if I switched her to a senior food. The dry food is 23% protein, 13% fat, she gets a cup to cup and 1/2 of that every night, soaked in water, and a can (9% protein, 5% fat)mixed in with it. She's stayed at about the same weight, and her energy level is still good (she also gets a 1000 mg capsule of MSM with her food every evening, though she hasn't seemed to have much joint trouble yet), so I'm pleased. I can't offer any real scientific reasoning behind my method (or maybe it's madness? ), but thought you might be interested in hearing from someone else who shares a similar view. Here's a recent pic of Goo...
I think she's looking pretty good for her age

[This message has been edited by goob (edited 09-30-2003).]

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honeybear
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posted 09-30-2003 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for honeybear     Edit/Delete Message
Goob - she does look young - I was also thinking if I should be feeding my dog a senior at 6 1/2 but since I switched him to innova regular he is doing so much better even though he has a weight problem and I think innova has a light food. I think his problem all alon was he wasnt getting enough protein in past diet foods.
Honeybear

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honeybear
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posted 09-30-2003 08:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for honeybear     Edit/Delete Message
This question got me thinking, Maybe I should switch Jake to the Onnova senior because of his weight problem. hHe is very active in the summer and will probably be half since in the summer he swims in our pool all the time.

So with his excercise being cut. I just checked Innovas web site and the senior has almost half the fat. and 25% less protein.

I am just worried since Jake has been on a diet all his life with no results from eating the commercial and vet diet food.

But Innova is such a high quality food.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Honeybear

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puttin510
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posted 09-30-2003 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for puttin510     Edit/Delete Message
When I started Innova, I gave my dogs the amount stated on bag. More for active, less for less active. I found that they gained weight. I have cut their rastions in half and they have lost all the excess weight. My 24 lb terrier gets 1/3 cup morning and night. My 11 lb poodle gets 1/8 cup morning and night. With my poodle she is on meds that make her more hungry but she really does not need extra colories, so I give her about a half cup of veggies with her meals, because she thinks 1/8 cup is nothing. Veggies are the filler. In nearly a year she has lost a little over 4 lbs. for a mini poodle with arthritis it is crucial to not be overweight. My terrier is fine too.

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honeybear
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posted 09-30-2003 11:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for honeybear     Edit/Delete Message
I do love innovas website that gives you what you should be feeding based on their activity level. I think he fits in the inactive to moderate so I give him 3 cups a day. I just want to make sure he is getting the nutrients he needs since he is such a big dog. I may switch him to the senior because he always thinks he is starving. I just checked Innovas web site and the standard dry and senior is both 1703 calories
for his size, but he would get an extra cup and 1/3 on senior without compromising how much he eats with less fat.
Honeybear

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Lacey
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posted 09-30-2003 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lacey     Edit/Delete Message
Puttin, I just have to ask, do you think a 1/4 cup a day is enough food for your Poodle? You say she acts more hungry. I'm not sure that is enough. I realize that you had her on a diet because of a health issue but unless you up it some she will continue to lose weight. My aunt has a Schnauzer that is about your dogs size weighing around 10 pounds that she has to watch her weight too and she feeds more more than that. I just feel bad for your Poodle that she is not getting enough. I'm not sure that 2/3 of a cup is enough for a 24 pound dog either. Please don't take offense, I just feel bad for the dogs.

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honeybear
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posted 09-30-2003 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for honeybear     Edit/Delete Message
I agree with Lacy , they may need more than just the green beans to help fill them up.

I am in the same boat with Jake and his weight, I now dont think he is getting enough to satisfy him. the senior looks like the way for me to go now because of his age and I just posted the senior has the same calories but less fat ratio regular 14% fat and senior is 8% fat and he would
get over a cup more food a day.
Honeybear

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nern

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From:NY, USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 09-30-2003 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
Honeybear: For weight loss Calories are whats important.If you were feeding 3 cups of Innova Adult your dog was getting 1671 Calories per day. If you switch to Innova Senior but increase the amount to 4 1/3 cups then your dog is going to get 1719 Calories per day which is more Calories than he was previously getting. The protein & fat percentages do not matter because the amount of protein and fat that will actually be consumed will vary depending on the amount of food consumed. If you feed 4 1/3 cups of Innova Senior your dog will consume more protein than he would consume eating the 3 cups of Innova Adult and about the same amount of fat. If weight loss is your goal then I would'nt feed more than 4 cups of the Innova Senior...he will still be getting more food but will also be getting less calories.
When I fed Innova to my aussie x I followed the recommended feeding guidelines and she ended up gaining 5 lbs. To get the excess weight off I had to cut back her food which left her very unsatisfied so I switched to a lower calorie food so that she could eat more but would still consume less calories...this worked well, she was satisfied and lost the weight.
Sorry for being so long-winded but I thought you might find this information helpful.

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duckling
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posted 09-30-2003 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for duckling     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for the input, goob! My dog doesn't act like he knows he's considered "senior" so I'm also reluctant to give him the low levels of protein/fat that some dog food brands have for seniors. Your Goo certainly looks great! Btw, is the 1000 mg dosage by her weight? Or does it also vary according to the condition of a dog's joints?

Regarding amount of food to feed: I think it depends a lot on the activity level, age, metabolism rate, and type of food you're feeding. Because nutrient levels and calorie numbers vary so much between diets, it's hard to really compare them just using the "number of cups" measurment. As long as the vet is making sure there that the weight loss isn't too much/too fast and the dog is doing well, I think the diet should be fine -- Just a thought.

Honeybear: It might even be good to look into foods other than Innova (or a combination of foods) if you are concerned that he's not getting enough food to make him full. If your dog is fairly active for his age, maybe a food that doesn't cut so much protein out of the senior diet might be better suited. Also, as nern said, a less calorie dense food would allow you to feed more without contributing to calories. However, the veggies might help too -- I've heard that they're good fillers and sources of fiber (which is supposed to be especially important with senior dogs) without being calorie-dense. Plus, I think that many dogs just love to eat, even if they aren't really hungry!

Phew! Sorry for the long post, but I thought hearing another opinion might be helpful!

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honeybear
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posted 10-01-2003 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for honeybear     Edit/Delete Message
Nern and Duckling, thanks for the input

Nern, I went back to Innovas website and it looks like I can feed him and extra 3/4 c on Senior and he would be getting the same calories. thanks for pointing the servings out! I was reading the web site wrong. by the way he is a lab (which they are known to overeat and he is built like a rotty). When I switched him to innova - I took the advice of posters here that said to cut down on the amount, that is why I am only feeding him 3C a day. He has lost 5# in the last 6 months.

Duckling - my poor Jake has been a on constant diet his whole life (he was also an overweight pup). He had always been very sluggish (I had difficulty getting him to walk around the block) - ear problems, you name it.I dont think he was getting the proper nutrition from the various diet foods he was eating - Since I switched him to Innova he is like a new dog. His activity level has gone up 100%.

I do have a queastion maybe one of you can answer. Jake is scratching like crazy. couple of scenarios

It is hard to tell what is causing it, could it be the food - it started around the same time?

more plausible weather started to warm up, - he is in the pool more and he started this new thing when he gets out he rolls in the grass. (he used to hate getting near grass) maybe a grass allergy.

I have him on antihistimines now which is helping.

Honeybear


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puttin510
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From:,Calif. U.S.A.
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posted 10-01-2003 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for puttin510     Edit/Delete Message
My vet has heard exactly what I feed my dogs and agrees. They do get a snack inbetween, but they get all the nutrients they need from what I feed them. Dogs do not know when to stop. My poodle has just ended her prednisone treatment so she does not act ravanous all the time now. That med will make a dog think its starving. With each feeding they get what they need. I'm sure everyone agrees that having excess weight on a dog is very bad for their system. Especially one with arthritis. My terrier is at a perfect weight and so is my poodle. I know it sounds like they are not getting satisfied, but I do give them their treats. When I think back of when I used to feed them more and a different brand my poodle was still there at my leg begging. And she would usually not even finish what was in her bowl. So, I am more apt to listen to my vet than anyone else. Isn't that what we all say not to trust every little word that is is said on a forum. I think it is a natural thing to want to spoil your dog, but we also have to pay the consequences when they become obese and their heart fails or something like that. I would rather be safe than sorry. My poor starving girl would get a nice juicy chunk of chicken with her hidden pill inside too. I have heard of some dogs eating less than mine. I understand you are all just trying to be helpful. I must stand with what I feel I am doing is right. Don't forget that Innova dog food is high in nutrients. The reason my dogs are on it is because after trying about 5 other brands this one is what works for them.

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goob
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posted 10-01-2003 12:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for goob     Edit/Delete Message
The problem with low calorie and senior foods is that often they bump down a meat source, and put a grain in it's place, so your dog is getting more grain fillers. Yes, it does fill them up better with less weight gain, but for a dog that doesn't do well on foods with a lot of grain, it can cause problems. That's why a lot of people choose to feed less of an adult food and add in their own fillers... carrots, beans, apples, and other veggies/fruits.

Honeybear, have you had a thyroid panel done on him lately? I know thyroid inbalances can cause itchyness, extreme hunger, and the like. Might be worth checking into just to be sure if you haven't already. Possibly he just had a slight inbalance, but as he's aging, it's becoming more pronounced. It could also be an allergy either to something in the food, or to something associated with the weather (ie: lots of rain can mean mold in some places you might be walking him, as can leaves falling, you get the idea).

Duckling, A friend advised me to start on the MSM after I mentioned how worried I was that joint problems would slow her down (they actually suggested either MSM or Glucosamine/Chondroitin, but I also wanted something that I could use for our younger diabetic, three legged pit bull, and Glucosamine/Chondroitin is supposedly not good for diabetics because it will raise blood sugar levels, so I decided to try the MSM). They said that for an older 60 lb dog, they would take whatever the human dose was, and divide it in half. They also mentioned that if she started to develop problems, I might up the dose a bit, but to do so slowly. I ran it by our vet, who said to go ahead and try it out, but start at small amounts and work up to the full dose, just in case she had a reaction (I would have done that anyway) to it. The first two nights, I did just a little sprinkle of the powder over her food; the next three, 1/4 capsule; the next 3, 1/2; you get the idea, all the way up to a full capsule. She never had a problem with it.

I'm pretty sure that there's been an improvement in her movement (it wasn't bad before, but it seems a bit smoother now) and energy (that could have been brought on too by her getting more exercise since I was finished school and had more time). Either way, I'm happy with how she's doing, so I'm planning on keeping as close to what we're using now until I notice that it's not working as well.

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honeybear
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posted 10-01-2003 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for honeybear     Edit/Delete Message
Goob, Jake had a thyriod test maybe 1 1/2 years ago, that tested negative because of this age he may need another test. We have also had our hottest driest summer and that could also compound his itching. I will watch him over the next month when things start to cool down and he stops going in the pool, but it is still hot! 90 today.

Puttin - I think we all believe we are starving our pets when in reality they could get by on a lot less. If I let my husband feed Jake he would probably be 20# heavier than he is now. He seriously thinks I dont feed him enough. And your poor dog on prednizone, My vet wanted to put Jake on prednizone last year because of hot spots and I said no! Because of him already being overweight.

Nern - what food do you now feed your dog?

Honeybear

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puttin510
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posted 10-01-2003 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for puttin510     Edit/Delete Message
Honeybear the itchiness could very well be the grass too, My terrier gets red bumps on his belly if he lays on the grass for more than a few minutes.

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nern

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posted 10-01-2003 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
Nern - what food do you now feed your dog?

I've been feeding Timberwolf Organics dry and Innova & Active Life canned. I used Wellness in the past to get her excess weight off.

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nern

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posted 10-01-2003 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
Regarding scratching-
A few weeks ago I had to take Sebastian to the vet because he was scratching and chewing himself like crazy. He actually chewed himself so bad he had a few raw, bloody patches on him. The vet thinks it was an allergic reaction to something in my house or outside. She gave him anti-inflammatory pills and antibiotics and its all cleared up now but I still can't figure out what caused it.

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duckling
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posted 10-01-2003 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for duckling     Edit/Delete Message
nern: How did you feel about Wellness? Also, did you feed the senior or adult formula?

puttin: My dog was also on prednisone for spinal disc inflammation. It was really disconcerting for me to see him panting and drinking such huge amounts of water!

There seems to be a lot whole of things that could cause itchy skin. Maybe you could try keeping him off the grass for a while. If it stops, it might be an allergy or critters he picked up while rolling...? My dog was itchy and prone to hot spots (sensitive to flea bites), but after we started him on Advantage, it stopped entirely.

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nern

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From:NY, USA
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posted 10-02-2003 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
nern: How did you feel about Wellness? Also, did you feed the senior or adult formula?

I liked the Wellness. I fed the Adult Chicken Super5Mix.

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