What should I feed my senior pet?|
As dogs and cats age, nutrition becomes even more important than it was in the adult years. Your pet's aging body can no longer metabolize its food as well. Senior pets don't burn as much energy, so they need fewer calories than adult pets do. Obesity can become a major issue, as it can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Dental disease is often a major issue as well, as layers of tartar begin to eat away at the enamel of the tooth and the gumline, causing absesses and resorptive lesions. The bacteria from rotten teeth can spread throughout the pet's body causing all sorts of infections and disease.
The focus in senior pet nutrition is to provide high quality, easily digestible protein in reduced amounts. Protein is rough on the kidneys, and cats especially (due to their higher protein requirements) tend to suffer renal disease in their later years. By providing high quality protein in lesser amounts, we can ensure that your pet is getting the protein he or she needs without overtaxing his or her renal system. Senior diets tend to be lower in calories, which helps keep the weight off and reduces the strain on your pet's joints. Dogs especially tend to be prone to arthritis.
For senior pets without significant health problems we usually recommend either Medi-Cal Mature (for felines) or Medi-Cal Weight Control/Mature (for canines). Medi-Cal Dental diet is another excellent option for healthy seniors, since it is low in calories and helps prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth.
For all senior pets we strongly recommend a senior exam and wellness test so we can best judge which diet is appropriate for your pet. As dogs and cats age, the chances of medical problems increase, and your own senior pet may require a different diet from those mentioned above. There are special diets for pets with kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, liver disease or even cancer. Only a veterinarian can determine which diet is best for your senior pet.