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The latest addition to our family, Jake, just turned seven last week and I'm wondering at what age we should think about switching him to a senior formula kibble.  Clifford and Cloud are 3 and 3 1/2 respectively and it is great to have them all eating the same food but we want to do what is best for each of them.  We were feeding Canidae ALS (no issues with senior or not since it is for All Stages) but because of the Diamond recall it isn't available; we tried Wellness - which they don't seem to love at all and often leave some in the bowl (unheard of for our guys).  I've been looking at Solid Gold and don't see a senior formula listed on their site so it might be all life stages as well.

 

What should I be looking for in nutritional analysis for Jake?  He's a big guy but a great weight for his height so he does not need to lose weight.  I want to keep his joints healthy (he's starting to be called Grumbly Gus because every time he lays down he groans).

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Solid Gold's "senior" formula is the Holistique Blendz formula, and I wouldn't recommend it; it's extremely low in protein as well as fat. 

I've never switched to a senior formula with my dogs in the past, and don't intend to do it with JD unless there's a specific health reason related to age that crops up in the future. (He's past 7.5 years old). The thinking about dogs requiring less protein as they age is very questionable. Fewer calories, yes, because they lose muscle mass as they age, just like we do, and their metabolism slows down, but you know how to reduce calories without changing foods.

More and more companies do not even make separate formulas for different life stages.

Regarding keeping joints healthy, the amount of glucosamine and chondroitin in the dog food formulas isn't really enough to have a therapeutic effect anyway, so for that, you're better off giving an older dog aseparate  joint support supplement.

(It's questionable whether or not the G/C supplements are effective in humans, and I'm not sure there's been any clear research with dogs, either, but it seems it might help dogs more than people, from what I've read.)

So maybe what you really need is a different food for all the dogs, period, since they don't like the Wellness. Which Wellness formula did you get?

I have yet to hear of a dog not liking Fromm, that might be an option. Nature's Variety might be another. Acana would also be a good choice.

My parents' dog (who was 16 at the time) was having joint problems and they started giving her a chondroitin/glucosamine supplement.  It actually helped quite a bit and she was noticeably less stiff.  It was liver flavored and she actually liked the taste.  It helped her move around independently for another 2.5 years until she crossed the rainbow bridge.

Thanks for the info Karen - it was my understanding that senior formulas just had less protein/calories, so it makes sense that you don't have to switch formulas, just adjust calories.  I guess it's the same principle has the puppy to adult transition with those "all life stages" formulas.

We had Clifford on Fromm right from the start but he started to get pretty finicky about it which is why we switched to Canidae.  Thanks for the advice!  After a while of looking at all the choices I started to fall into analysis paralysis.

There are so many Fromm formulas in the Four Star line, there's bound to be some that Clifford would love. I'd give it another try.

I can't tell you much about Senior formulas, but I can rave about Missing Link Plus.  My dog King, who was a rescue lab mix from the pound, passed away last April at 17.  I started giving him Missing Link Plus when he was about 12, and was having trouble with the stairs, and some really nasty breath.  Within 2 weeks, he seemed to have reverted back at least 5 years in age!  His breath cleared, his energy returned, and he could run up and down the stairs no problem.  I know that if I ever ran out and he didn't have his 2 tablespoons a day, I could tell that he would begin to hurt again.  I swear by this stuff!  I would price it onlne, as I could find a better deal from one store to the next - but it is available at Pet Smart (their price is quite high, though).  Look at the ingredients -  this stuff is amazing!

One word of caution about the Missing Link formulas. They do contain some grains, some beef, flax seed, and a few other ingredients that might not be right for every dog. Jack, for one, could not tolerate this.

http://www.missinglinkproducts.com/articlelist1-26/IngredientsGlossary

The instructions do say to wean your dog onto the formula - to start off with a little, and add more each day until they are up to a full dose.  It made such a world of difference to my dogs, that the tummy trouble in the beginning seemed insignificant. 

I'm not sure how vailid this is, but it does make sense:

Our vet said to powder the G/C supplement and sprinkle on their food otherwise it's in one end and out the other!

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