Nutritional requirements change with age. Changes in the senses of taste and smell affect appetite. Changes in exercise and other activity affect the body’s nutritional requirements. As the pet ages, certain body requirements will increase and certain needs will decrease.
Older pets, like older people, often suffer from nutritional deficiencies. As the pet ages, body functions are not as efficient. Nutrients are not absorbed as readily from the intestinal tract. Various organs, such as the thyroid gland, do not always continue to function properly. NUTRITIONAL EXCESSES, as well as deficiencies, are common in older pets. OBESITY is the #1 cause of malnutrition in pets.
Feeding the proper diet becomes critical in the aging pet. The effects of a lifetime of living start appearing with age, including the effects of good or poor diets. AVOID TABLE SCRAPS, as this not only can upset their nutritional balance but also leads to stomach upsets and/or diarrhea. It is important to avoid foods with high salt content as well.
DENTAL HYGIENE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF NUTRITION:
Dental disease can make chewing painful, as well as spread infections to the major body organs from the mouth and tooth roots.
SENIOR PETS SHOULD BE FED DIETS DESIGNED FOR OLDER PETS:
As the pet ages, quality of the diet becomes much more important. Diets for senior pets should have limited amounts of sodium, phosphorous, protein, and fat, all of which can harm an older pet’s health if fed in excess. WE NEVER RECOMMEND GENERIC OR CHEAP FOODS FOR A SENIOR PET.
If your pet has an age-related illness, such as kidney disease, specific diets formulated to minimize damage to these organs can add years to the life of your pet. Laboratory blood screening allows detection of many of these potential problems much earlier allowing dietary changes to minimize the effects of aging.
In cats, it is now known that LOW POTASSIUM is a major cause of kidney failure. Potassium deficiency causes no signs until in the advanced stages, and eventually leads to muscle weakness and collapse.
Elevated cholesterol levels are common in dogs. Lower fat and higher fiber levels in senior pet food are helpful. If your pet is too thin, on the other hand, a high fat may be more appropriate, provided blood-screening tests do not discover any other abnormality causing the problem.
WEIGHT CONTROL IS ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST OBSTACLES
Avoid table scraps, high protein diets, junk food, and snacks. Measure & feed the appropriate amount of food recommended for your pet according to its requirements. Use only snacks recommended by your veterinarian, such as Hills Metabolic Treats or Prescription Diet t/d™ (1 Milkbone™ contains over 100 calories). Exercise is important not only for weight control, but also to minimize joint stiffness and arthritis.
WHAT YOU FEED YOUR PET EVERY DAY IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENTS OF GOOD HEALTH CARE. Choose wisely using the advice of your veterinarian. It can mean the difference between a long, healthy life and one that is not.