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Author: admin, 07.09.2014

As with all other training and discipline issues, the key to building and maintaining good feeding habits in your Labrador is consistency. No matter what the situation, it is important to be aware of the fact that as your dog ages, his or her dietary and eating habits may change. When dogs are considered "senior" or "geriatric" depends largely on the breed and body weight as well as the individual. Senior and geriatric dogs usually require a lower calorie diet to compensate for their declining metabolic rates and exercise routines in order to prevent obesity, which is a major problem in senior dogs. Most dog food manufacturers now offer dog food specifically engineered for senior dogs and it is important for owners to select age appropriate diets for older pets as they do contain lower caloric values. Obviously not ideal, but if you have more than one dog and prefer to feed a single type of dog food, then buying foods labeled "multi-stage" may be adequate as these cater for puppies, adult and senior dogs.

When it comes to snacks and dog treats, veterinarians also recommend that senior dogs be given low-fat, low-sodium treats as far as possible. Dogs also require more water as they age because their body's ability to maintain hydration is diminished with age, so always ensure that your senior dog has adequate water available to him or her at all times. Should your dog develop health issues in later life, seek advice from your veterinarian or a dog nutritionist to assist you in planning a healthy, balanced diet for your senior dog.
Dogs with heart disease may require lower-calorie senior dog foods to help keep weight down as well as lower-sodium formulations, while diabetic dogs will need specially formulated, lower fat, higher fiber diabetic dog foods that delay absorption of food and keep blood sugar levels constant. In comparison to standard dog food in other age categories, many senior dog diets have higher-quality protein sources which assist in maintaining body weight and muscle mass without putting too much strain on the kidneys. Before adding any supplements to your dog's diet, always consult your veterinarian as many supplements can do more harm than good and never use human supplements, but rather veterinary formulations.

That said, many senior dogs suffer from joint pain and arthritis and many senior dog foods contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate, which aids in relieving joint pain and promotes joint health. Reduced appetite is common in senior dogs, especially if they suffer from gastrointestinal ailments which may result in nausea.
Once this has been done and there is no underlying ailment to explain the loss of appetite, then you can slowly entice your dog by adding warm water, chicken broth or a small portion of canned dog food to his or her kibble. Establishing a set feeding routine will help your Labrador to learn that he can rely upon you, and that he needs to behave in an acceptable manner.

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