6 signs your pet is becoming a 'senior'

How can you tell when your dog or cat is ageing or becoming a senior and what changes should you make to ensure optimum health and longevity?

As dogs and cats age, gradual changes become evident. For dogs, such signs may manifest at as early as 5 years of age in the giant breeds, whilst small terrier breeds can remain youthful until the age of 10 or even older.
There is not such a broad size range in cats, and most will reach their golden years at around 8 years or so, but cats who enjoy a good level of exercise and keep a healthy figure can often remain sprightly for much longer.
things to look out for include:
  1. A general ‘slowing down’ or notably decreased levels of activity and stamina.
  2. A tendency to sleep more. 
  3. Greying of the hair (in dogs, particularly round the muzzle). 
  4. Joint stiffness (especially after cold/damp spells or periods of rest).
  5. Slower reflexes.
  6. Diminished senses. Just as with people, hearing, vision, and sense of smell may become less sharp.
so, what changes should you make as your pet approaches its senior years?
If your pet enjoys a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, mental stimulation and is not overweight there is no great need to make any changes. However, it is important to be aware of the signs of ageing and be prepared to make changes to your pet’s diet when you notice them slowing down a little.
Switching to a naturally hypoallergenic, high quality diet formulated for seniors may help to support the body during age-related changes.

Look for diets with boosted levels of natural supplements like glucosaminechondroitin and MSM to protect the joints and additional functional ingredients such as prebiotics to support the digestion and immune system.

A diet containing added essential fatty acids may also be beneficial because the omega-3s release compounds within the body that reduce inflammation.  Krill  is an excellent source of omega-3 DHA and EPA.

Our Senior diets are often a great choice for aging dogs, and we have two products to choose from – our tasty original Senior (which is chicken and rice based) and our Sensitive Light/Senior (which is white fish and potato based).

For older cats we may suggest our Light diet.  These diets are lower calorie than our maintenance products, ideal for when cats and dogs start expending less energy. They are full of nutritious ingredients and include supplements to support the joints, brain, digestion, skin and urinary tract.

Do not undo all your hard work with unhealthy treats and tid bits! Choose healthy rewards like our naturally hypoallergenic Crunchy Bites or Tasty Liver Treat which meet the same high standards of our main diets.

For a more in depth look at aging dogs, read our full article on feeding senior dogs by Ness Bird - Nutrition Adviser and Registered Vet Nurse Cert CFVHNut ©.

If you have any questions related to your aging pets get in touch.