Older pets dietary advice

As your pet ages, their nutritional need change, and it is important to feed them a diet which reflects this. Problems such as arthritis, weight gain and kidney problems are common in older pets, and the best quality diets will reflect this in their ingredients, and may even help slow the onset of disease.

Digestive System

  • Good quality fibres and carbohydrates help aid digestion, which means the body can take up the nutrition it needs more easily
  • High quality proteins helps keep the cells of the intestine healthy, which means they can absorb nutrition more easily.
  • High fibre diets help keeps the pets bowel movements regular and their stools solid. This is particularly helpful in pets who suffer from senile problems as it helps them maintain their toilet training.

Regular, solid bowel movements promote intestinal health and also help older animals maintain their toilet training.

Immune System

  • High quality proteins are required for the body to be able to produce the antigens needed to fight disease.
  • Antioxidants, such as Vitamins E and C and Selenium, help protect the walls of the bodies immune cells from damage.
  • Vitamin B is very important as it is required for the synthesis and activation of the immune cells.

Older pets can be more vunderable to disease as their immune system ages and weakens
Proplan senior foods contain a patented supplement called ‘Longevis’ proven to strengthen the immune system.


  • Some of the highest quality diets for senior animals are enriched with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, both of which help maintain joint health and mobility.
  • High levels of essential fatty acids, omega 3 and 6, also aid joint mobility.

Pets often become stiffer with age and sore joints can mean they can’t play as much, even if they want to!
The best quality senior pet foods are enriched with joint supplements, to help keep them in the best health possible.


  • Kidney problems are common in older animals, especially cats, and diets for senior pets should reflect this by containing ingredients to help support and maintain the kidneys into old age.
  • Senior diets should have low levels of phosphorus and salts to reduce the work load on the kidneys.
  • Protein levels in senior food should be controlled as too higher levels, especially of poor quality proteins, may increase the stress on the kidneys
  • High levels of omega 3 and 6, natural fibres and essential minerals all help to support the kidneys
  • Anti-oxidants, such as Vitamins E and C and Selenium, help protect the kidney by minimising free radical damage to the kidney cells.

Older cats are particularly prone to kidney problems, and the right diet in later years can help support the kidneys.
Senior foods for cats should be designed to protect the kidneys

Skin and coat

  • High levels of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids will help maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat.
  • Vitamins and minerals are also important, in particular zinc and vitamin A should feature highly in diets for older pets.
  • Here, again, high levels of good quality protein are important.

Older pets are prone to poor coat and skin condition, thier skin can be dry and flaky and thier coats dull. Added fish oils, zinc and vitamin A can help keep both skin and coats healthy.


  • Obesity is a common problem in older pets as they are often less active, diets for senior animals should be lower in calories to compensate for this.
  • However, some animals, especially cats, have difficulty maintaining their weight as they age. Good quality senior diets will be rich in good quality proteins which will help your pet maintain lean muscle mass.
  • Some of the best senior diets are also available in special ‘light’ versions, such as Hills Senior Light, for dogs that are especially prone to weight gain.

Older dogs are less active, so need a lower calorie intake
Older cats have difficulty maintaining their weight, good levels of protein help maintain muscle mass
Some senior foods come in light versions for pets prone to gaining weight

Please note this is an advice only website, if you have any specific concerns or queries about your pet, please contact your vet.

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