Maintaining Proper Nutrition

Weight
 
Proper Nutrition Extra body weight can cause or worsen many health problems. Older less active pets often gain too much weight and should be fed a calorie-controlled diet. Some older pets just need more exercise. Pets that are too thin may have underlying medical problems. Maintaining proper weight is important for the medical wellbeing of your senior pet. If your pet is too lean or too heavy, make an appointment to see your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may perform tests to determine if an underlying condition is causing your pet’s weight problem.
 
Reduced Appetites
 
Elderly pets sometimes have poor appetites and may need to be tempted to eat. The following tips may be helpful in enticing your pet to eat:
 
-Feed small frequent meals, dividing the daily food allowance into two to four small meals. Warm the food gently, to just below body temperature. Leave the food down for about 10 to 15 minutes and then remove it.
-Your pet is more likely to eat fresh food.
-Make sure your pet has a quiet, undisturbed place to eat his meals.
 
Kidney Changes
 
Excessive thirst and frequent or uncontrolled urination are often signs of kidney problems or diabetes. Since the kidneys process and eliminate body waste products into the urine, it is important that these organs remain healthy. If your pet’s kidneys are not functioning properly, your veterinarian may recommend a diet specially designed for kidney problems. These diets contain a low phosphorus level to slow down the progression of the disease and a lower protein level to reduce the buildup of harmful waste products in the blood.
 
Nutritional Supplements
 
Under certain circumstances the vitamin and mineral needs of elderly pets may be different from those of younger animals. Some of the special senior diets have mineral and vitamin content carefully adjusted to help provide the appropriate balance for elderly pets that have failing kidney or heart function. Your veterinarian may also recommend a supplement to help support your senior pet’s nutritional needs. Commonly used supplements include glucosamine/chondroitin for joint health, omega fatty acids to reduce inflamation and anti-oxidants.