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Help Your Dog Rediscover His Inner Puppy

dog running for exercise in a field

Keeping your dog youthful and full of energy is easier than ever before. With the right nutrition from PEDIGREE®, dogs of all ages and sizes can stay at their playful and healthy best. With a little extra attention, you can keep your dog’s inner puppy active for life.

First, forget the old adage "You can’t teach an old dog new tricks." Your dog’s innate desire to work, play, and receive praise assures that he not only can learn new skills, he’ll enjoy the process. Try to teach him new games and practice new tricks regularly. Mental stimulation is good for your older dog and will keep him young and the exercise can not only help keep him at a healthy weight but also keep joints and muscles active.

The benefits of good old fun

Nothing brings out the puppy in an older dog like playtime. Don’t let your senior get lazy. Here are some tips for keeping him up and running:

  • "Fetch!" never fails to get a dog’s attention. But as he slows down, you’ll want to keep the ball closer, and if he has difficulty running or jumping, roll the ball on the ground instead of throwing it.
  • When vigorous play is no longer possible, try a quieter “hide and seek” game. Show your dog his favorite treat, like DENTASTIX, then hide it nearby. He’ll love using his sense of smell to find the reward and win your praise.
  • If your dog enjoys tugging games, be sure his older teeth can take it. Often, switching from a braided rope to a softer, squishier, more pliable toy can protect teeth and extend the fun of tugging games. But always be gentle and take a cue from your dog by letting him show you how comfortable he is with your tugging game.

While regular activity is excellent for older dogs, always keep a close eye on him for signs of pain or fatigue. With a little rest, he’ll be ready to play another day.

  • When Should You Switch Your Senior Dog to Soft Food?

    smiling lab sitting in front of brick wall

    As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.

    When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.

    two dogs eating from two bowls

    Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food

    If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.

    fluffy brown dog yawning showing teeth

    Teeth Sensitivity

    As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.

    However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.

    Digestion Aid

    Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.

    Hydration Help

    It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.

    girl kissing older dog on the head

    Slower Metabolism

    Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.

    Picky Eaters

    While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!

    Whether you choose dry food, soft food  or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.

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