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Becoming the new Pet Chef: 5 nutrition tips for your old dog

German shepherd eating from his bowl advice
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Ensure your old dog gets the best nutrition with these five tasty doggie dinner ideas!

By Emily Ruck Keene

Best nutrition for old dogs

If you prefer to know exactly what nutrition goes into your old dog’s food, it’s best to prepare their meals yourself. Old dogs have different diet requirements than puppies and adult dogs, especially if they have health concerns. Here are five recipes that will have that lovable tail wagging away in anticipation.

1. Balanced nutrition to manage weight gain

Try cooked chicken thighs, sweet potato and broccoli stems for a balanced meal for an old dog who has a tendency to gain weight easily. Whatever dinner you are cooking for your dog, remember that proportions are essential for the right nutrition: A healthy bowl should contain 40% protein (the chicken), 10% carbohydrates (sweet potato) and 50% vegetables (broccoli stems). Don’t forget to keep up the exercise too!

2. Dinner for old dogs with sensitive tummies

Old dogs can have digestion problems. Try a handful of soft cooked rice (just like for humans with tummy problems!), cooked ground beef, and a couple of teaspoons of plain, non-fat yoghurt to help support his digestive tract. Some people disagree with giving dogs dairy, but the general consensus is that the occasional spoonful won’t harm your dog, and could even provide nutrition benefits.

3. All-round balanced meals for both of you

Your dog will adore this recipe, and you can freeze a big pot of it to last your dog, and you if you’re tempted, for several days. Carrots, turkey thighs and peas can be cooked together in a delicious stew that you can add brown rice to afterwards. Avoid adding salt, which is thought to raise your old dog’s cholesterol (although some studies disagree) as well as saturated fats and added sugars. By cooking your dog’s meal yourself, you know exactly what’s going into his body.

4. Skin and coat concerns on older dogs

As they age, a dog’s coat can look dull, the skin can become dry, and sometimes allergies can develop. Avoid preservatives and food allergens, and stick to healthy, organic ingredients like safflower oil, sardines, lima beans and spinach. Common sources of food allergies are beef, dairy and wheat.

5. A special treat for a special dog

You shouldn’t give it to your dog every day, but once in a while liver can be beneficial to their health. Keep portions low, as some old dogs have stomach upsets with rich meat. A few pieces of chicken or calf liver are nutritious (and taste delicious) with 100% apple puree, carrots, a few spoons of chicken brother, and a whole boiled egg. Dogs can digest egg shell, and it provides a good source of protein. Just make sure you crush up the pieces to avoid any irritating the throat. With the right healthy diet, you dog can continue well on into his twilight years, and enjoy delicious home-made meals from the best owner in the world! 

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