Older dogs need just about the same nutrition as younger dogs.
The main difference is that they often need fewer calories, as they tend to sleep more and generally have less energy.
I’ve covered this in another post about nutrition for older dogs, but today I want to discuss a different avenue that is somewhat parallel to this.
We’ll be talking about diet for dogs that have a considerable amount of teeth missing.
Does anyone have any ideas on what to feed a 12 year old Chihuahua, that has lost a good portion of her teeth. She can’t eat kibble anymore, so I’ve been buying lean meats for her and cooking it. She gets hungry really fast when just eating meat. I believe she needs grains in her diet so I added brown rice and cooked squash or carrots. She’ll eat it for awhile and then after a few days she’ll refuse to eat it and just follow me around whining. I’m running out of ideas for my girl.
I recently came across the above question on the forums regarding a 12-year-old Chihuahua with a good portion of her teeth missing.
The owner was looking for feeding options because she said her dog couldn’t eat kibble.
As you see, she went on to say that she had been giving her a diet consisting of only lean meats, brown rice, and cooked squash and carrots.
This prompted me to write an article on what to feed older dogs with missing teeth because everything being done with this little dog is incorrect. The owner’s heart is absolutely in the right place, but her approach is way, way off.
Related ➔ How to socialize an older dog
Older Dogs Need Proper Nutrition
Older dogs may not move very much. They might not have many teeth left. The still need proper nutrition, however.
Cooking up some meat and random veggies isn’t going to give them the nutritional content that they need.
Dogs need high-quality food throughout their lives, and missing teeth don’t change that.
Kibble is Still an Option
Missing teeth actually don’t even mean that your dog can’t eat kibble.
If you think about the way a dog eats, you rarely hear crunching. That’s because dogs mostly just down their food.
They rarely chew. So you don’t necessarily have to abandon your dog’s kibble if he’s lost a ton of teeth.
We’ve had several older dogs who were perfectly happy to gum away on their dry food. Or just swallow it whole. Hey, that’s exactly how they ate it when they HAD teeth. =D
Wet Food – The Old Standby
If your dog isn’t comfortable with kibble in the absence of some of his teeth, or if you’re uncomfortable, wet food is your next option.
Obviously, any dog can eat wet food regardless of how many teeth they may or may not have. Some people try to stay away from wet food because it’s more expensive, but that expense is worth ensuring that your dog has the nutrition he needs.
Avoid Making Your Own
Lots of websites out there are proponents of making your own dog food. They talk about protein to carb ratios and adding in berries and vitamin supplements.
While that is certainly better than just feeding your dog straight meat with a couple of random veggies, it still may not give your dog the precise nutrition he’ll get from high-quality dog food.
Making your own dog food is a very specific science, and unless you know exactly what you’re doing, it leaves your dog open to problems.
Older Dogs Still Need Dog Food – With or Without Teeth
Older dogs still need proper nutrition, and having a few fewer teeth is no reason not to give it to them.
You may think that older dogs may not be as in need of the best possible nutrition because of their limited amount of time left on the planet, but that’s not the case. In fact, just like we humans, proper nutrition almost always leads to a longer life.
So if your older dog only has a few teeth left, don’t opt out of quality dog food. Just snag some wet food, or moisten your dog’s kibble to soften it up a bit. The last thing you want to do is give him something that doesn’t have a good nutritional punch.
Older dogs need excellent nutrition just like their younger counterparts.