We all want our dogs to live forever and chihuahuas are blessed with a longer lifespan than most dogs. Chihuahuas can easily live until they are 16 and some have happily made it to past 20 years old. Which is well over 100 in human years. But there is a difference between living to a ripe old age and passing away a happy old dog and living to be old and aging badly, beset with health issues that are the result of senior decline.
Obviously, there will be changes in our dogs as they get older but there really isn’t the need for our dogs senior decline mentally and physically to the point when days are full of confusion and pain.
It’s all about gut biome
How can we ensure our dogs become senior without the senior decline that dogs often suffer? Scientists, nutritionists, and vets are doing a lot of work around aging in dogs. The link between gut biome and brain health is astounding. Gut microbiome are the microbes that live in the intestines. The gut biome is so influential that it’s being called a ‘second brain’. Having a healthy, balanced microbiome is essential for our health and it’s the same for our dogs.
Turn back you dogs aging brain
It is possible to restore your dog’s the ageing brain by making some simple changes to your dog’s diet and fitness regime. What this means for us as dog owners is it’s never too late to make positive changes to our dog’s wellbeing and overall health and turn back the clock and help them grow into a healthy old age.
How to stop senior decline
Stop feeding kibble and over processed dog food like pouches of slimy jelly that contain a substance similar to antifreeze to keep it soft. Kibble or dry food is not a species appropriate food. Kibble is full of carbs and fillers and generally have a low protein offering and does not contain enough moisture essential for digestion. Because of the way it’s cooked it is a ‘dead’ food and synthetic vitamins and minerals must be added. It is so far away from the ‘balanced’ diet that vets and the petfood industry want us to believe. Kibble is the worst thing that has happened to dog health and is responsible for a wide range of illnesses including obesity and tooth decay.
Feed your dog a range of fresh foods that are rich in antioxidants. Muscle meat and organ meat, Raw is preferable either home-made or brought if it’s good quality. If you can’t feed raw look at a high-quality semi moist food. Dogs need fat and protein, they don’t need carbs. Research what goes into a homemade diet so you are feeding a balanced meal. If you’re not feeding bones then you will need to add calcium in the form of ground egg shells. Never feed the same meat everyday.
Make sure your dog gets additional eggs, cooked or raw. (Not the shell). 2-3 a week
Add in some oily fish (sardines packed in water but not tuna or raw salmon). Around half a sardine per 4.5Kg of dog.
Add some superfood veggies like sprouting broccoli to their dinner as a topper or give them instead of ‘treats’. While low GI veggies are helpful to a dog they must never be more than 18% of their daily food allowance.
Add a tablespoon of Kefir (1 tlbs per 4.5 kg) to their dinner daily.
Stop feeding treats. These are full of rubbish and don’t have any kind of nutritional profile. Chihuahuas are small and treats can take up a big part of their daily food allowance. Food is food to a dog so use their dinner for training.
Get appropriate exercise and have a fitness regime in place. A little sensible exercise every day will help halt senior decline. But don’t assume more is better and over walk your dog as this can fill their bucket and make them reactive.
Keep them at their correct weight. Being obese can cost a dog 4 years of its life. If your dog is overweight, you don’t need prescription diet food from the vet. Just weigh their daily food and make sure you feed them for the weight they should be. An adult dog that has been nurtured needs around 3% of their bodyweight. A complete dog (one that has not been spayed or neutered can eat more). Speak to your vet who will advise what your chihuahua should weigh.
Cut back on the vaccinations, if your dog has had a booster every year, they never need another one. Over vaccination is harmful for your dog and expensive for you. If you live in the US, the rabies vaccination for small dogs is causing a lot of controversy. Have a look at this website. Protect the Pets http://www.protectthepets.com
In summary freed a range of fresh food, get sensible exercise, cut out the rubbish treats and keep weight stable, get plenty of real rest and reduce the stress. Seems obvious really.