Should I Feed My Senior Pet a Senior Food?

4PAWSAdmin Articles, Bone & Joint, Cats, Digestive, Dogs, Nutrition & Health, Supplements, Weight

By Debra Manfield, Owner

That depends. Is your pet overweight? Does your pet have problems with fats? Is your pet sedentary? Constipated? Does your pet suffer from arthritis?

Some of you may think that if you answer yes to the questions above, then the answer would be yes! With a few exceptions, that would be incorrect.

All the issues I’ve listed above are things any adult pet can suffer from, and they can be helped by feeding a natural, species appropriate diet. Generally a senior pet food will have fewer Kcal’s per 8oz cup; have reduced fat; reduced protein levels, more fiber and will add in some supplements for bone and joint health along with some for immunity.

BUT you can reduce the calories you feed your senior pet, by just reducing the amount of food you feed. As to fat and protein levels, older pets actually need more fat, and more protein to diminish the effects of aging.  In most cases a moderate fat diet with mid to high levels of GOOD proteins is actually what is called for. BUT please note that years of a diet based on terrible quality, rendered protein compromises kidney and liver function. SO, if you intend to continue to feed a poor quality food with low-grade proteins, then you should definitely feed a low protein senior food.

Constipated? Don’t use a senior food for added fiber as too much can block absorption of nutrients. Instead feed a species appropriate diet that’s high in moisture; supplement your pets’ diet with digestive enzymes and probiotics, and for goodness sake, try to get your pet out and moving! If you do need to give them additional fiber, try adding some psyllium seed or pumpkin to their food.

Supplements added to senior pet foods like glucosamine and chondrotin, or immune boosters do not provide sufficient levels to be effective and are best added separately to make sure they are still potent. Supplements like Krill oil and other Omega 3 fatty acids along with extra virgin coconut oil greatly benefit arthritic pets by reducing inflammation throughout the body.

Does your senior pet need a senior diet? No! What they do need is a diet that is mostly unprocessed and species appropriate.

Please stop by and let us know what questions you have, and how we can help customize a diet and/or supplement plan for your senior pet.