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My dog's vet wanted me to get her on senior food when she turned 7....she didn't like it and after suffering through a bag I called and asked how important it really was. He said that it was somewhat important but as long as she was still crazy active, it was less so. She's a 45lbs german shepard/basenji mix.

She's still extremely trim and very active...not much change since 7

At her 9.5 appt this past year he asked about her food. I admitted we were back on Blue Seal Natural 26, which is her OMGZ favorite. And that she was a free feeder, never eating too much. He said that in the next few months I reallly should work on getting her that senior food. He likes the Science diet food, but also approves the Blue Seal brand as it's local.

I've had 40lbs of torture. After it was very clear that her Natural 26 was done, she's picked and putzed and basically is starving herself to the point of making herself tired. I know she's not tired because if I add a bit of gravy, rice or basically anything attractive to her food she'll eat it and perk right up. She's just stubborn and starving herself until she has to eat. I'm tempted to just up the ante and not put food out all day/take it away after a couple hours so she's really good and starved, but I haven't had the heart to do it.

We're getting to the point where there's another 2-3 weeks of food left and it's time to start thinking about mixing in the Natural 26 if I do choose to go back....

...so just how important is the senior food, really?
 

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I really don't think it's that important for a healthy dog. A balanced, quality food should last a dog from puppyhood through to being a senior. 7 seems quite early to make the switch, especially if your dog is active and healthy. Most senior dog foods are just a gimmick. Some have lower calories as they are prone to being overweight when they aren't active, but that doesn't seem to be the case with your dog.
 

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tbh i did switch 2-3 years ago my lab to now fresh senior for awhile he did really well on it but since last July he been on acana light and fit because couldnt find a food to agree with him and his weight was terrible he is doing so well on it nad its an all life stages is this acana food. I dont see any reason to switch him to a senior food at all as he is healthy apart from arthiritis which is quite bad which he on pain killers and synoquin for
 

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I switched to Purina One Senior for a few months time when my old dog begin to slow down. He was around 15 years old at that point. I noticed no difference in him when he was on it. The grocery I got the food from stopped having it for months and I ended switching him to Iams 12+, that was a strictly chicken based food and I discovered my boy has a chicken allergy so I had to take him off that food. I also discovered that every senior dog food I could find had chicken in it so he went back onto All Life Stages food and we brand hopped trying to find something he liked and did well on.

Personally I'd not put my current dog on a senior food no matter how old he gets. Doing research I've learned that they are mainly gimmicky and the only real benefit of them may be if an owner is searching for a low fat, low protein food. They do not have enough glucosamine or chondrotin in them to have any benefit for the dog.
 
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To be honest I don't see any need for senior food unless your dog has issues gaining wait, I actually have issues with a lot of "life" stages food too. A lot of vets, and pet store sales people, tote on the fact that a senior food has glucosamine added in it but the amounts in senior food are negligible. You'd get more benefit from an actual supplement. Senior foods do tend to be lower in calories/fat so it does help for dogs that are prone to get chubby to keep them trim, but as you said your dog is still trim at 7 so I would skip it.
 

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I had my older dog on senior feed when he turned 7. I was feeding him Nutro Senior Dog Food. He did fine on it (he is fine on just about any food) but when we got our other younger dog, we didn't want to go through the hassle of feeding two types of foods. We have both on Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, the older dog now being 11 and my young dog being 2.
As long as your dog is healthy and the right weight he should do well on high quality dog food. Science Diet is an awful food, and unless you have to feed one of their special medical diets, avoid it.
 

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It's just a gimmick. A senior dogs nutritional needs are no different from an adult dog. Senior dog kibbles usually only add more empty calorie bulk and reduce fat in an attempt to manage weight better. But that's easily done through portion control. Some senior dog foods also have added glucosamine, but you can buy glucosamine to give as a supplement instead.

I feed raw and my seniors eat the same as they did 8 years ago when I first put them on that diet.
 

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Think of it like people. You don't change what you eat when your old unless you have a health issue, or you are gaining weight you may cut back on portions. Truly no need for senior foods.
 

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I would not switch on a healthy slender dog. They tend to add a bunch of fillers in senior food. As bad a peanut hulls to fill them up not out. Yuck. I am assuming the food recommended was science diet. Look at all the filler, none of which they need.
Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Sorghum, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Oats. More meat less grains is far healthier.
 
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