Unlike larger-breed dogs that are considered mature or senior at age 5, small-breed dogs usually don’t experience age-related changes as early. But by age 7, your small dog is mature or senior, and his nutritional requirements are changing. You can help keep your dog active, happy and healthy with a specially formulated mature diet that delivers highly digestible, enhanced nutrition.
The Signs of Aging in Small-breed Dogs
The changes your small dog is going through affect him in many ways. You may notice a dull, dry coat and flaky skin, energy loss or weight gain, more frequent intestinal problems, joint stiffness and a loss of lean muscle mass. It’s true that an aging dog may require fewer calories, but your mature or senior dog still needs high-quality protein and carefully balanced nutrients.
What to Look for in Mature or Senior Small-breed Dog Food
What your dog needs is a high-quality, balanced maintenance food formulated for a small dog’s changing metabolism. Look for options with these age-essential nutrients:
- Antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene to help boost the immune system
- High-quality animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle mass
- Special fiber sources such as beet pulp to help maintain intestinal health and support your dog’s ability to absorb age-essential nutrients
- A special carbohydrate blend of healthy grains for sustained energy
These ingredients are the keys to mature nutrition whether you feed dry or wet dog food or give your dog treats.
Additionally, small dogs have small mouths and small stomachs. A nutrient-dense mature formula with smaller kibble may help make food easier for your dog to chew.
Special Needs of Mature or Senior Small-breed Dogs
Older, less-active dogs are prone to weight gain. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can help minimize the risk of developing diabetes or joint stress. Your dog can benefit from a weight-control diet with these key ingredients:
- A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
- L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat during weight loss
- Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
While your mature or senior dog’s nutritional needs may be changing, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have many active, happy years ahead. Make sure your dog can make the most of them by feeding him a proper diet designed for mature small-breed dogs.
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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