Healthy Diets for Senior Pets

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Maybe your dog’s nose fur has gone a little gray or your cat doesn’t seem quite so interested in everyday play. Whatever signs of age your pets might show, they still have plenty of great days ahead. You can help them feel their best with the right nutrition.

Ask your vet to help you figure out which food is right for your older pet. “If they’re doing really well, they may not need any change at all,” says Julie Churchill, DVM, PhD, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

Don’t expect to mark the day your pet officially becomes a senior on the calendar. There’s no specific age when cats and dogs hit this life stage.

“I tend to think of cats between the ages of 9-13 as senior and those 14 and older as geriatric,” said Angela Witzel, DVM, PhD. She is an assistant clinical professor of nutrition at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

Large dogs age faster and can be seniors as early as age 5 or 6. Smaller dogs typically live longer, so they might not reach that milestone until age 8 or 9. 

When your pet approaches his senior days, visit your vet for a thorough exam. She might do bloodwork and look for signs of diseases common in older pets.

A healthy weight is crucial, no matter how old your pet is, but it becomes especially important for senior animals. Heavier pets have higher odds of heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, some types of cancer, arthritis, and high blood pressure.

As they age, pets often put on weight as their metabolism slows down. That affects the kind of food they should eat. Older pets may need as much as two times the protein they did when they were younger because they start to lose lean mass, Churchill says. “I might pick a product that’s lower in calories and higher in protein to help spare the lean and trim the fat.”

Source link Pets.Webmd

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