Why is nutrition important for the senior pet?

Nutrition plays a really important role for your dog or cat as they get older. As your pet ages, their eating habits, dietary needs and requirement for calories and certain nutrients will probably change. So their food will play a vital role in maintaining their overall health.

We hear it time and time again but an overweight pet is not a healthy pet and as our dogs and cats get older we can really help them to stay healthy by managing their weight and their waistline!

Excess weight will put your pet’s body under additional stress which could be detrimental to their overall health.  Your vet nurse will be able to show you how to body condition score your pet if you can’t easily get into practice regularly to weigh them. This will help you to check if your pet is a good weight.

Many senior pets benefit from eating smaller meals more regularly as this can help with digestion. We can enhance feeding times and stimulate our pet’s senses by using interactive feeders, licki mats or snuffle mats which are fantastic for encouraging the reluctant eater and also encourage gentle mobility at the same time. Be creative, make it fun but match any activity to your dog or cats capabilities.

As diets become more advanced we can more easily access life stage specific foods designed to support our pets changing nutritional needs as they grow older. Lots of senior diets now include added nutrients and supplements designed to support mobility, joint and cardiovascular health. Senior pets will often require fewer overall calories but might need a higher protein intake to allow the body to maintain muscle mass and to fuel the body adequately.  Many pet food brands now produce specific senior pet diets which will help to accommodate these requirements.

Veterinary prescription diets might be suggested if your pet is diagnosed with a particular medical condition. For example, there are diets available which are specifically designed to support pets with liver or kidney problems.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to senior pet nutrition though, so please do ask your veterinary nurse for advice. Remember you can contact us 24hrs a day 365 days a year with any questions you have about your pets health and wellbeing, just call us on 0330 001 5153 or use our live chat service by CLICKING HERE.