What are the best diets for older pets?

As cats and dogs become older, their dietary requirements change. Senior pets may become less active, gain extra pounds (or lose muscle), and have less appetite. With so many brands of specially formulated senior pet food, finding the right one for your furry friend can be challenging. Ask your veterinary clinic for personalized advice based on your pet’s unique needs—which could be similar to the broad guidelines below.  


The best diet for a senior pet with muscle loss?

Most cats and dogs exercise and play less vigorously in their sunset years than they used to. Muscles that aren’t regularly challenged shrink and lose strength over time, making your pet even less active. Look for senior pet food that’s higher in protein to help maintain muscle mass and reverse this trend.


The best diet for an older pet that won’t eat?

If your pet seems less interested in their food or won’t eat, bring up the issue with your veterinarian – it could be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Otherwise, your furry friend may have a diminishing sense of smell or taste and isn’t enjoying their food as much. Look for senior pet food that’s higher in protein and fat and with added moisture. Such a combination should help ramp up the taste and texture.


Storing kibble in an airtight container to keep it as fresh and enjoyable as possible for your pet can help. You may also consider progressively switching your pet from dry to wet food and warming it slightly in the microwave. Less than 20 seconds shouldn’t make the food too hot but will significantly help enhance its aroma and flavour.


The best diet for a senior pet who’s constipated?

Adding more fibre to your pet’s food helps increase the volume of their feces and makes it easier to pass. You can start by trying to feed your pet some fibre-rich vegetables; peas, broccoli, carrots, and asparagus are all safe for dogs (and can be steamed for cats). For a chronic problem, high-fibre senior pet food can be considered, or a laxative such as This product.


The best diet for an overweight older pet?

If your pet consumes more calories daily than they spend through physical activity, they’ll gain weight. Inversely, to lose weight, your pet needs to consume fewer calories than they expend. Pet food specially formulated for weight management has fewer calories per serving and often more fibre allowing your furry friend to feel full while working towards achieving their weight goal. You can also try feeding your pet smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.


The best diet for a senior pet with mobility issues?

45% of dogs between the ages of 8 and 12 and 90% of cats over 12 live with osteoarthritis. Senior pet food containing natural ingredients such as Omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine can help manage arthritis and reduce inflammation. To avoid switching your pet’s food, you may instead use natural supplements that support joint health, such as This product.