20 Healthy Dog Treats for Senior Dogs
Senior dogs are some of the most beloved pets so it is important that we tend to all their dietary needs because they can be different from younger dogs. This article provides dog owners (like yourself) with tips about a dog’s eating habits and dietary needs as they grow older.
Firstly, as dogs get older sometimes health issues like arthritis and heart conditions that can affect exercise and their overall health. The best way to maintain your dog’s health is by having a healthy diet full of all the needed nutrition.
There are many dog foods on the market pretending to be manufactured for “mature dogs”, but you should be aware that most of the active ingredients that are added to the general pellet mix are usually in such low concentrations, that they are essentially best for marketing purposes not medical or nutritional.
Plus, anything that was of medical strength could only be prescribed and administered by a vet and would come with the cost of monthly check ups, which of course most owners do not want to do.
What does a mature dog or senior dog needs?
Because of limited exercise, senior dogs can have issues in maintaining acceptable weight, low fat and low-calorie diets are preferred. Additionally, you should consider high protein foods for your dog because they will help with cell creation and aging mobility functions.
Commercial dog food is often a poor choice of protein for your dog because it only has up to one third of meat products and probably won’t provide enough protein in your dogs’ diet. Unless your dog has been diagnosed with a health issue like kidney disease (where they require a low protein diet) adding MEAT to their diet is ESSENTIAL because it provides them with ABSORPBABLE amino acids that are necessary for bone maintenance and circulation.
Another way you can increase your mature dogs’ protein is by providing them with treats that are rich in ANIMAL BASED OMEGA 3 (not flaxseed).
Finally, dogs also will require more fibre in their diet as they get older to help with blood sugar levels and digestive health. I personally recommend using a natural animal-based fibre in their diets because I have seen the best results.
MEAT based healthy dog treats to add extra protein to your dog’s diet.
Dogs typically get beef or chicken in their regular dog foods, if they are not allergic to these. For mature dogs, this is often in jerky form so they can rip it apart on their own.
Meat dog treats that have the highest percentage of meat include chicken breast and beef jerky. These treats are good for your mature aged dog because they provide teeth cleaning and some good chewing.
However many older dogs have slighter weaker jaws and do not have the ability to chew 100% meat options so you should opt for chicken or kangaroo discs because they contain slightly less meat.
Low cost meat-based treats
My next recommendation for older dogs requiring meat are the ones that have around 80% meat. These don’t require as much chewing (which is often a requirement for younger dogs), but the lower meat content means that they are much cheaper, and easier to eat for older dogs. So, dog owners that have a budget can still provide good protein treats for their beloved older dogs.
EASY TO EAT Meat based treats for senior dogs
Also known as soft treats these treats are ideal for older dogs as well as puppies or dogs that have chewing issues.
Easy to eat meat based treats can include treats that can either be easily broken up (like beef liver, chicken liver or kangaroo liver), as well as the mixed treats (such as meat and grain) like the balls and the crinkles.
Additionally, you could feed your dogs soft sticks to promote healthy gum and teeth cleaning. We have four meat varieties of soft sticks (chicken, beef, lamb and kangaroo) that are 80% meat. NOTE that they all have some amount of chicken meat in them. When stored fresh, you can easily cut off thin slices or discs off the stick making them easy to eat and swallow for any dog.
OFFAL for Senior dogs
Dogs are very different form humans in what they like to eat. They are led much by their noses rather than eyes, and that is why the strong smell of OFFAL is often a favourite with older dogs. In fact if your dog is refusing to eat adding some soft liver pellets can often encourage them to eat. The only stipulation to giving your dog live pellets is that if they are not used to eating them they can have loose stools for a while because they are super rich treats.
MEDICINAL treats for Older dogs
The two major treats that ALL dog owner’s should consider, regardless of their dog’s age, is shark cartilage and green lipped mussels for arthritis prevention and reducing pain. However as most older dogs have some form of arthritis, these are a vital daily “treat” for almost ALL senior dogs. If you want to know more about these treats check out some of our articles.
Another treat to consider for mature dogs is meat-based dog treats that have NATURAL OMEGA 3 in them because it is great for their brain health and reduce the risk of your dog developing dementia. Almost any treats with a high meat percentage will contain omega 3 although the best ones to give your dog are either Kangaroo Meat Treats or Fish Treats.
LOW FAT foods for senior dogs
While dogs need more meat in their diet for protein and animal fats, and softer treats for easy chewing, they also typically require low fat treats if they are eating a substantial amount of them.
The thing of course is that LOW FAT and SMALL TREATS are not always the same. However, if you want low fat animal-based treats in particular, you can make them lower in fat by using scissors or secateurs to cut them down into bite sized pieces.
This article has highlighted that the vast majority of our treats except for long chewing treats, are suitable for senior dogs. As an owner you need to first choose your meat type (beef, chicken, kangaroo or fish) and then choose a type of treat (low fat, small, medicinal).
We have plenty of options to genuinely add nutrition to your mature dogs diet. Please note, with all dog foods and dog treats, please consider supervision of them eating to ensure that they can handle the size of the treat presented to them and that they chew it properly before swallowing the treat.