Ageing is a natural process where there animal body’s gradually loses its ability to perform at its optimum level. Although we cannot stop this natural process, this progression may be managed such that we are able to aid the animal maintain an acceptable level of activity and well-being during this life-stage. Genetics and environment two key factors that affect the deterioration of an animal’s health, however, the animal’s nutrition and nutritional history are also major factors involved in this process. What is a Geriatric Animal?
SmallLarge| > 7-8 years> 5 years| Mature cat| > 7 years|
Why and how should diets be modified for geriatric animals?
As animal age, their body composition change with time and as this leads to an altered energy requirement in older animals. The amount of skeletal muscle tends to decrease with age this leads to reduced physical activity as well as a reduction in the amount of amino acids available within the body for tissue repair and energy metabolism. The body’s ability to respond to changes such as physical trauma, stress and infection decreases as well. As such, it is important to encourage continued activity in older animals to maintain skeletal muscle mass for as long as possible. One key change in older animals is a deterioration of their kidney function. Geriatric dogs and cats should always have unlimited access to fresh and clean water. Failing to do so can lead to dehydration in these animals. Monitoring your pet’s daily water intake can be a useful diagnostic tool. Often, a change in water intake may be an early indicator of developing medical conditions. Normal water intake
* Dogs 40-70ml per kg daily
* Cats 200-250ml daily
Dietary protein should not be restricted for geriatric animals as sufficient intake of proteins is required for the maintenance of body muscle mass. However, for patients with impaired kidney functions, it is imperative that...