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Discussion Starter #1
When is a large breed considered a senior? Pepper is a Boxer/Rottweiler and will be 7 in November.

She has gained a little weight over the past several months. This is partly because I have been less active, and partly because she is not quite as hyper as she used to be. She used to weigh between 75-80lbs. I'm not sure what she is now, but I'd guess around 85 lbs. I have cut back on her food, but I'm wondering if it's time to switch to a senior food? Is there an actual difference in senior food or is it just a marketing ploy to get you to buy different stuff? We are feeding Acana now, but they don't seem to make a senior food. Any recommendations for a good quality kibble for senior dogs?

Pepper3.jpg
 

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There is no AAFCO standard for senior food, so it is basically whatever the brand wants to market as senior food (I don't know what the Canadian equivalent is and not that AAFCO standards are anything more than minimums/maximums for a very baseline nutrition but they are a starting place and regulate some marketing claims). A lot of senior foods add glucosamine and chondroitin, but the amounts are very small compared to using a supplement. Some senior foods are lower protein, and lower calories, but older dogs seem to need as much or more protein as young dogs because they process it less efficiently.

Personally, I would continue to feed a food with a moderate to higher level of protein and fat that you know Pepper does well eating and cut it back about 10% from current feeding amount for weight loss. I'd probably supplement omega 3s and glucosamine, taking into account the calories from any fish oils or additions.
 

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There is no AAFCO standard for senior food, so it is basically whatever the brand wants to market as senior food (I don't know what the Canadian equivalent is and not that AAFCO standards are anything more than minimums/maximums for a very baseline nutrition but they are a starting place and regulate some marketing claims). A lot of senior foods add glucosamine and chondroitin, but the amounts are very small compared to using a supplement. Some senior foods are lower protein, and lower calories, but older dogs seem to need as much or more protein as young dogs because they process it less efficiently.

Personally, I would continue to feed a food with a moderate to higher level of protein and fat that you know Pepper does well eating and cut it back about 10% from current feeding amount for weight loss. I'd probably supplement omega 3s and glucosamine, taking into account the calories from any fish oils or additions.
Thank you. She is getting a fish-oil supplement daily. I have also stopped giving her a Kong when I leave. Instead I save 1/2 her breakfast and put it into a Wobbler when I leave. Maybe I just need to wait longer to see if she loses any weight. It's only been a few weeks since I made these changes.
 

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Some years ago I saw a poster on my vet's wall that gave the age at which dogs of various sizes were considered "geriatric". For my 85-pound Rottie girl who was with me that day, the age was 7, which I probably remember so well because the poster positively incensed me. I'm not sure if it had said "senior" instead of geriatric if it would have struck me so hard. That girl, who was 7 at the time, lived to 3 months short of her 12th birthday, when lymphoma took her, and I didn't consider her geriatric at 7. Nine maybe. No one will convince me my current Rottie girl who will be 7 on November 1 is geriatric yet either.

I do have to admit that in Rottweiler competitive events from conformation to working, dogs 7 and up are considered senior and separate classes are often designated for them, so maybe dog food manufacturers also use that age for large dogs. I don't remember the relative ages given for small and mid-sized dogs on that poster, but surely with longer average lifespans, they're not insulted with the geriatric label till later than 7.
 

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Geriatric at 7?? Lol! Try telling her that. ;-)

No one will convince me my current Rottie girl who will be 7 on November 1 is geriatric yet either.
Wow, our girls have the same birthday! Pepper will also be 7 on November 1st!
 

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My personal anecdote is I kept Sor on high quality 'normal' adult food up until the very end. I did start feeding him less as he got older though.
 
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