My baby-dog is now considered a senior dog—so very hard for me to believe! But in order to stay vital and connected to life, experts agree aging pets have different nutrition requirements than youngsters. Magical-Dawg has always been a fan of crunchy dry food, and (bad Amy!) I had been reluctant to change his diet since his vet checks and activity level were good. He’s always been a go-getter, highly athletic, and almost too busy—trying to keep him entertained can be a challenge.
Then I was invited to attend the Better With Pets event late last year and learned about a new Purina Pro Plan food. I even got to speak with the veterinary nutritionists who researched and created BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ formula. I’m a pet journalist, and always on the lookout for innovative research that benefits our dogs. In this case, the product offered a personal benefit for my own furry wonder, so I was delighted to return home with a sample.
Magic gave it a paws-up when he taste-tested, and his enthusiasm rivaled that given to those tidbits he knows as TREETZ. As the resident dog of a pet writer/blogger, I’m reluctant to change up what works for the sake of a one-time blog post, so am very selective about what products I actually test with my pets. I wanted to know more—why change Magic’s food? What would be the benefit?
According to the Purina researchers, the glucose metabolism in a dog’s brain begins to change starting at age 7. That can affect memory, learning, awareness or decision making. I hadn’t really noticed any change in Magic’s behavior. Let’s face it, when you live with a pet 24/7, gradual changes may not be noticed while the big ones get your attention. But I was offered the opportunity to test the BRIGHT MIND formula, just to see if I noticed a change.
In fact, part of what convinced me to give it a go was my short video interview, below. If the human researchers believed so much in this ingredient that they used it on themselves, I could offer my beloved dog a 30-day trial, too.
We transitioned Magic to the new food over a period of about a week because some dogs get upset tummies with abrupt change. We mixed his former ration with the new in a 50/50 split and gradually increased the new food until he only ate the new diet. That was in mid-November, and I’ve been feeding Magic the BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ formula exclusively ever since.
I had attributed Magic’s increased sleep and his “selective hearing” on the colder December-January months. Older dogs do lose hearing acuity, so I didn’t think that behavior change could possibly be affected by nutrition. Then Magic was diagnosed and treated for an ear issue (one ear only) in early February, yet his behavior between December and mid-February hadn’t changed measurably during that time.
Reality check here—I’d kept him on the BRIGHT MIND food not because of any behavior improvement, but because he loved it and I knew it was good for a senior dog. With chicken as the first listed ingredient, and EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid) and glusamine in the formulation, the benefits are clear, whether there’s a behavior improvement or not. But about two weeks ago, when I noticed a dramatic behavior change that I have to attribute, at least in part, to the new food.
I think you can even tell in the pictures. Look at his face in the one next to the bag, and then compare it to the one I just took, below.
He solicits play—insistently and incessantly. He not only hears me (at a whisper once again), but is more attentive than I can remember. He sleeps through the night, and his paw stress-licking has declined. When I ask him to “find Bear,” he no longer must search, but remembers exactly where he last left the toy. I have my Magical-Dawg back again—the energetic, engaged, play-play-play-NOW! attitude from three or four years ago has returned! Never mind the white on his muzzle, Magic acts like he could run a marathon.
Yesterday morning at Magic’s annual wellness exam, he received a clean bill of health. Even his “senior dog” baseline blood panel looked great. What started out as professional curiosity and interest in an intriguing new nutrition concept has literally brightened the mind of my beloved Magical-Dawg. If you’re like me, you want that special bond to last forever—or at least as long as possible.
Now, if I could get ahold of those same enhanced botanical oils in the BRIGHT MIND food (an additional energy source for Magic’s brain) and add to my own diet, I would. Find out more about BRIGHT MIND here.
What about you? Do you have a dog age 7 or older? What sorts of aging changes have you noticed—and if you could turn back the clock, would you give it a try? Have you changed your dog’s food to a “senior” formulation? Learn more about canine cognitive disorder in this post.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!