Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub e.V.

Feeding senior rottweiler

Even in old age the Rottweiler has high demands on his nutrition

Advances in medicine and expanded knowledge about nutrition and health care have increased the average life expectancy of dogs. The average age of dogs today is 13 years, the maximum life expectancy is estimated at 27 years. The aging process of a dog varies according to breed, weight and size. Basically, larger dogs age faster than smaller ones, which also means that small breeds have a higher average life expectancy. In general, the period of life begins as a "senior dog" from 7 to 10 years.

What actually happens when your Rottweiler ages? Shortly after sexual maturity, the functionality of different organs of the body begins to decrease. When these changes become clinically visible depends on the organ system, external influences, lifestyle and individual aspects of the animal. Visible changes for the owner usually concern fur, hearing and sight as well as behavioural problems. The ability to adapt to new situations and stress factors decreases with age. 

The nutrient requirement changes with advancing age

With age, the Rottweiler becomes more inactive overall - moreover, he sleeps more. The muscle mass in his body decreases and the fat content increases. This causes changes in the metabolism, which lead to a reduced energy requirement. In order to prevent overweight, it is therefore necessary to reduce the energy intake of most older dogs by 20 to 25 percent. In Rottweiler dogs, the energy intake can be reduced to 80 percent of the requirement from the age of six to seven. For smaller breeds, energy intake is usually adjusted from the ninth to tenth year of life. But also further individual characteristics determine the time, starting from which an adjustment of the daily ration becomes necessary.

In addition to the reduced energy requirement, there are other changes in metabolism and the digestive tract that should be taken into account in the feed composition. Thus a high protein quality and favourable amino acid composition of the used raw materials should be paid attention to. However, the intake should not exceed the requirement value, as this could in turn burden the kidneys and liver. The handling of phosphorus and sodium should also be moderate. If the saline intake is too high, dogs with heart problems in particular can suffer damage.

Other nutrients such as zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants support the immune system, have an anti-inflammatory effect and support cell protection - and are therefore indispensable in the feeding of susceptible seniors.

In addition, the daily ration of your Rottweiler should be divided into several meals a day to relieve the body. And please make sure that the animal drinks enough water! 

Special problems in old age

Anorexie, Obstipation, Flatulenz oder Tumorerkrankungen treten bei alten Rottweilern vermehrt auf. Frisst der Hund nicht mehr richtig, kann ein verminderter Geruchssinn die Ursache sein. Leidet das Tier an einer solchen Anorexie, kann das Erwärmen des Futters zu einer Steigerung der Nahrungsaufnahme führen. Im Alter tritt zudem häufig eine verminderte Motilität (Kontraktions- und Bewegungsfähigkeit) des Dickdarmes auf, die zu Verstopfungen führt. Bei solchen Obstipationen kann eine Erhöhung der Ballaststoffe die Darmmotorik wieder stimulieren. Auch bei Flatulenz können Ballaststoffe und Präbiotika positiv Einfluss nehmen. Zudem sollte auf eine hohe Verdaulichkeit der gefütterten Produkte geachtet werden. Bindegewebsarmes Fleisch, Ei- und Milchprodukte sind hochverdauliche Proteinquellen hoher Qualität. Vorsicht ist bei Pansen oder getrockneten Kauartikeln wie Schweinsohren oder Rinderhautknochen geboten: Diese Produkte sind schwer verdaulich. Häufig im Alter auftretende Erkrankungen sind Arthrosen, Herz-Kreislaufprobleme, Niereninsuffizienz und Tumorerkrankungen. All diese Störungen bedingen eine Veränderung der Bedarfswerte des Hundes, wobei diätetische Maßnahmen therapiebegleitend zu Medikamenten eingesetzt werden sollten. Nur eine auf die individuelle Situation maßgeschneiderte Ernährung kann die Gesundheit Ihres Rottweilers optimal unterstützen und so seine Lebensqualität nachhaltig erhöhen.

Auftretende Alterserscheinungen können durch die Fütterung nicht rückgängig gemacht werden. Wird die Ernährung allerdings optimal auf die Bedürfnisse des Hundes angepasst, kann die Lebenserwartung des Tieres erhöht werden. Ein gesunder Rottweiler lebt länger - die Ernährung sollte daher oberste Priorität haben.

Further topics and questions about nutrition

At you can also ask me further questions about a healthy diet for your Rottweiler. I am endeavored to follow all inquiries as fast as possible. The most interesting cases I will publish in a question-answer section in this magazine.

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