News last update:6 Aug 2012

Older pets stay healthy with proper diet

Older animals, similar to old people, can suffer from arthritis, their hearing and eyesight may deteriorate, and they can lose their sense of smell and appetite. They may also be affected by diseases ranging from kidney disease to obesity and even Altzheimers-like disease. A proper diet can delay the onset or lessen the severity of various age-related signs and diseases.

As animals get older, they need food that is:
- Lower in fat: because they are less active
- Lower in calories: because they may be overweight
- Higher in fibre because: it helps regulate bowel function
- Lower in phosphorous because: it helps reduce the risk of kidney disease
- Highly digestible because: they need to absorb maximum nutrition
- Lower in sodium because: it helps reduce the risk of heart disease
- Higher in anti-oxidants: to help boost declining immune systems and fight free radicals

Life-stage pet food
Many pet food manufacturers have begun making food specifically for senior cats and dogs. This is commonly referred to as life-stage pet food. Body fat and lean muscle change, as pets get older, and many senior animals lose their appetite. They therefore need concentrated, appetising food in small quantities, which means the quality of ingredients is vital to maintain ideal body condition.

Like people, many dogs and cats put on weight as they get older. Being overweight puts stress on every bone, muscle and organ in the body. Lean-fed dogs experience a healthy life for longer, display age-related diseases later and less severely, and can live up to two years longer than dogs that are allowed to overeat.

Kidney failure
Kidney failure is the number one killer of older cats, and it is the second highest cause of death amongst senior dogs, but it is hard to detect. The kidney has to lose 75% of its function before a problem is detected. That is why its vital to take older animals to the vet for annual check-ups. Correct feeding throughout a pets life can prevent the onset of kidney disease.

Related folder:
Dossier AllAbout Pet Food  

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Source: Petwise.co.za

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