Feeding Your Senior Pet

As your pet ages from a puppy/kitten, to an adult, to a senior animal, its nutritional requirements will also change. What your pet needs when it is young will not be the same as what it needs when it is older. Your pet is considered a senior animal at 7 years old and should be offered a diet that addresses ageing pets special needs. While age itself is not a disease, older animals will experience health changes and will be at greater risk for developing health conditions such as heart or kidney disease.

One of the biggest challenges older animals face is obesity. Obesity can lead to damage to the bones and joints causing arthritis, lead to heart disease and high blood pressure, make breathing more difficult, and it can pose a greater risk for animals needing surgery. A senior animal will have reduced energy requirements compared to a younger animal and so a senior diet will have fewer calories compared to a diet for a healthy adult. Senior animals also have trouble maintaining muscle mass. An appropriate diet will provide the right balance of high-quality protein to help an animal keep muscle. Having good muscle mass is important for older animals because it helps with mobility, gives energy, and helps animals recover from illness faster.

Heart and kidney disease are common among older animals. Senior pet food will help to combat these illnesses by containing restricted levels of phosphorous which slows the progression of kidney disease, and controlled sodium levels to help lower blood pressure. Arthritis is also a challenge for older animals. Often owners feel their older pet is “slowing down” when in reality arthritis is affecting their joints. Senior pet foods often contain glucosamine and chondroitin to help slow the progression of arthritis as well as omega fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation.

A senior pet food should address the many age-related changes that can occur in your animals “golden years” and provide the best protein, energy, and other nutrients for the specific needs of a senior animal. Your veterinarian can address your pets individual needs and recommend a diet that is best for him or her at any life stage.

Written by: Katie Hatcher, Registered Veterinary Technician



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Last updated: December 20, 2021

Dear Clients,

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- Your dedicated team at PetWorks Veterinary Hospital