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Nutritional Needs of Older Dogs and Cats

Senior dog and cat nutritional requirements vary greatly depending on breed, activity level, health, and type of food being fed.  As our pets age, they go through physical changes and their nutritional requirements change. Older animals may not utilize nutrients as well as they did when they were young.  Therefore, it is important that they receive an optimal amount of easily absorbable nutrients.  An older dog or cat that is less active will need the total amount of food decreased, yet may need an increase in the amount of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in their diet. This is why feeding your senior dog or cat a food that is specifically for senior pets is important.

In general both dogs and cats begin to show visible age-related changes at about seven to ten years of age. However large dogs and giant breeds of dog age faster than smaller dogs. In general, little dogs live to about 15 to 20 years of age, while bigger dogs live to about 12 to 15 years. The main objectives in the feeding an older pet should be to maintain health and optimum body weight.

The way the body uses energy changes, along with the amount of substance needed to produce energy. This process, known as metabolism, tends to slow down and the need for fat and calories decreases. Because of decreased activity, weight gain and obesity can be a problem, and because they do not exercise as much, weight loss can be very difficult. It is much better to not let your dog or cat get overweight than to try to make her lose weight when she gets older. But if she is overweight, then work very hard to get the extra weight off. It is one of the single most important things you can do to increase the quality and length of life for your pet. Specially formulated senior diets are lower in calories and help to create a feeling of fullness.

At Kilkenny Grain and Fodder we have a range of brands to choose from that are specifically formulated for senior cats and dogs.