New Paper Advises On Feeding The Older Dog

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New paper advises on feeding the older dog
11th April 2018

By Karen Pickwick
 
 
A new paper with key information about the nutritional needs of older dogs has just been published by the European Pet Food Industry Federation.
 
Against a backdrop of an increasing proportion of older dogs in the population, Dr Thomas Brenten, chairman of FEDIAF’s Nutrition & Analytical Science Group, said: “There is a great need to take their specific dietary requirements into account. Proper nutrition ensuring adequate intake of energy, protein, minerals and vitamins is essential to ensure good health and longevity for our pets.” 
 
The FEDIAF expert group has formulated the new paper in order to inform both the industry and the public as nutrient requirements change due to age-related developments.
 
The paper includes a comprehensive collection of recent scientific data and explains the different life expectancies of dogs related to their size, defining when ‘old age’ sets in. 
 
“Age-related changes in cognitive functions, behaviour, skin, digestive tract, cardiovascular system, respiratory tract, degenerative joint and skeletal function, as well as urinary disorders are the most common issues concerning older dogs”, said Thomas. “Many of these can be addressed via nutrition.”
 
For example, degenerative joint problems may reduce the physical activity of the dog, resulting in reduced energy requirements. 
 
The paper gives practical guidance to pet owners for feeding an older dog and explains how changes in the digestive tract can affect food intake, or how food texture may become a crucial factor. Furthermore, aging can lead to changes in energy metabolism and alter the nutrient requirements of senior dogs, so they need an adequate supply of proteins, fibre, minerals, fat, energy, trace elements and vitamins.  
 
The development of the expert paper has been led by FEDIAF’s Scientific Advisory Board, consisting of independent academics from leading European universities. 
 
‘Nutrition of senior dogs’ can be downloaded in the new section on science on FEDIAF’s website at  https://tinyurl.com/fediaf-senior-dogs