Nutrition for Senior Pets

Did you know… your pet’s nutritional needs will change with older age?  Decreased caloric needs and increased protein requirements are just some of the changes that can be expected.  How can you determine what to feed your senior pet?  Here are a few recommendations from leading organizations.

1.     Preventing obesity is very important.  A pet’s caloric needs decrease with time and his or her diet should be adjusted accordingly.  Obesity can increase the risk of diseases such as osteoarthritis and diabetes.

2.     Ensuring good protein intake is key, especially in dogs.  Protein requirements may vary based on your pet’s individual health status, but in general, protein requirements increase with age.

3.     The quality of your pet’s food is very important.  Grey Muzzle Organization, a group dedicated to helping senior dogs, says this: “Probably the most important decision you can make with regard to daily care for your aging dog is the food you feed.”  Avoid additives such as BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and artificial colorants.

4.     Arrange for regular veterinary follow ups which include nutritional assessment.  Your pet’s veterinarian can provide suggestions such as low-sodium, high-protein, or low-carb.

 Here are some great resources to check out:

Cornell University/VetMedicine – Feeding your Senior Cats

American Kennel Assoc: – Optimal Nutrition

Tufts University/VetMedicine – Feeding the Homemade Diet – Pros/Cons

Grey Muzzle – Feeding Your Senior Dog

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