Karlin, you've obviously looked into foods, so what is your opinion of the 'special' diets for dogs over 7 years ? A successful (show wins and long life ) when asked told me she doesn't bother with specials. In fact she uses Beta, a cheaper brand, but supplements it with raw meat, which i don't want to use.
At the moment I'm using James Wellbeloved and tried the senior/light , as it was on half price offer at PaH, for Monty who's 11 and Joly who is too plump.
Hey Kody, I know this question was addressed to Karlin, but I thought I'd be bold & jump in on it. Hope you don't mind.
I read an article (can't remember where) that made really good sense to me. The author suggested that special senior & weight loss foods had reduced their protein/meat & replaced it with rubbishy fillers. The author suggested that you just continue to use your normal adult kibble, offer less but mix in some grated vegies like carrot & beans. This fills the tummy up but offers very little in the way of calories.
There may be some slightly different nutrients as well -- in the same way that seniors (humans!) have slightly different requirements.
On the other hand I think a well balanced diet probably supplies pretty much what is needed -- my very healthy grandmother has never taken a vitamin pill in her life and she is 99; always eats well, lots of fruit and veg.
Senior foods are a pretty recent invention too -- we didn't have them when our dog was senior in the 1980s for example. She lived to a great age and was fed kibble and canned food, medium-quality supermarket food at a time when litle else was on offer.
I'd not see why you'd need to put raw meat into food -- cooked would do just as well with fruit veg as filler? I find green beans, still frozen, are really popular here! The dogs always seem happiest when they've had the chance to eat lots of grass at the park and pass stools with loads of fibre as a result... so I think dogs do like having some 'filler' of veg/fruit anyway.
If a dog is only fed dry food then perhaps opting for a senior diet would be helpful. However I was reading that the foods that say they have things like glucosamine and chondroitin for seniors put them in in such tiny amounts that clinically they would make no difference -- better to supplement with these remedies yourself.
Monty is quite fit, except from a mild murmur, so doesn't need any extras. I've never bothered with a senior food before and only bought this as it was on offer.
When I got my springers, in the early seventies, Wilsons Meal was the only dried food available and I used this as the first girl, Cindy , was on it when I got her. being rather like mueseli, so needing to be soaked, it was rather messy (The bowls were horrid to clean), but they leaved to 14 and 15 years.