On paper, human nutrition requirements shift a bit as an adult ages. For instance, while the vitamin D requirement remains same from ages fifty-one through seventy, the need for that nutrient increases afterward. That does not mean, however, that on a person’s seventy first birthday, he automatically begins to prepare breakfasts, lunches or dinners any differently from the way he has been for years. Chances are that if someone is healthy and has been eating a nutritionally balanced diet – plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and lean sources of protein and calcium – he will be just fine continuing along those same lines. The changes in requirements are just minor tweaks to an overall nutritious diet, not a wholesale overhaul.
It’s the same with an older dog. As long as he is healthy, there’s no reason to believe that the moment he turns geriatric by chronological age something must change in the way he is fed – which should be a load off for anyone who wants to do right by an older dog. That is, even though the veterinary community has not yet reached consensus on how to tweak the diet of a dog getting on in years to make it uniquely suited to his age category (although research should yield answers in the coming years), continuing to feed him the well-balanced adult diet he has been eating since he grew out of puppyhood should, by and large, continue to satisfy his nutrition requirements, as long as he is healthy and does not develop specialized dietary needs.
How can you ensure choosing the right food for your dog throughout his adulthood? The answer lies not in the claims blasted in large type across the fron the package, but in the fine print on the back or squashed into the folded sides.
For expert advice on nutritional care of your aging dog, purchase The Faculty of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University’s Good Old Dog from Your Dog.