Aging is a natural process that can happen relatively early in large breeds. Your dog is in good health but his needs are changing.
In giant dogs or large breeds, who have shorter life expectancies, it is considered that a dog is « mature » from the age of 6 years. In order for your dog to maintain a good quality of life despite his age, have his health assessed regularly and adapt his diet to his needs by following your vet’s advice.
At around 8 years old, a « medium » dog has reached the equivalent of 55 to 60 years of age in humans. Even if your dog is not ill and has few signs of aging, his vital functions (cerebral, digestive, kidney, immune, etc.) are gradually declining. An old dog is more fragile, more vulnerable to infections.
A « geriatric » vet examination will allow you to make a point on your older dog’s actual state of health. This complete assessment of your dog’s health will allow you to implement the necessary measures, medical and nutritional, to maintain him in good health as long as possible. The sooner the diagnosis of a disease is made, the better the chances of treating it or of slowing down its evolution.
Due to a decrease in smell capacities, dogs sometimes have a tendency to lose appetite as they age. Pay attention to if your usually greedy dog does not finish his bowl anymore. Some older dogs lose weight because of digestive problems. As they reduce their activity, their muscles tend to shrink. Weight loss and muscular shrinking can be avoided with an adapted diet, rich in protein and digestible.
In other cases, because they have reduced their activity but still eat as much, older dogs will tend to gain weight. The caloric intake must then be reduced compared to an adult dog. Older dogs may require joint support ; chondroprotectors may contribute : they are not as mobile as before !
Finally, molecules called free radicals accumulate and are responsible for general cell aging. Antioxydant intake in the diet (ex : vitamin E) helps to counter the harmful effects of these free radicals.