A little extra love and care is crucial during the senior years!
Gentle & regular exercise
Be sure to keep exercising your older pets. But lean towards regular, short & gentle walks, rather than an occasional lengthy adventure which could leave your pet overextended and sore.
Unnecessary weight can cause joint problems
Should you notice your pet gaining weight as they get older, it may be time to start monitoring calorie intake. Here’s a basic calorie chart:
- FAT = 9 calories/gram
- PROTEIN = 4 calories/gram
- CARBOHYDRATES = 4 calories/gram
If you’re unsure about the right amount of calories per day for your pet, have a look at these handy tables for cats and dogs provided by the Global Nutrition Committee – bear in mind that these figures are based on ideal body condition. While you may want to use this guideline, do monitor your pet’s condition and if you don’t notice an improvement, get advice from a nutritionist.
It’s better to gradually serve smaller portions for overweight pets, as ‘starving’ them is not an effective nor sustainable weight loss method.
Weight loss & muscle waste
It’s important that your pet gets adequate protein. If not, the body breaks down muscle tissue for nourishment which, of course, leads to muscle waste – and other problems.
Don’t automatically feed an underweight pet more carbohydrates – If their diet is already high in protein, try adding more fat. Fat has the added bonus of making food more palatable which is particularly handy if your pet lacks appetite. If you must add grains, be sure to include healthy options such as rolled oats or wild/brown rice.
As we get older, everything slows down including our digestive systems. The same is true for our pets. You may want to, from time to time, offer lightly cooked / steamed food instead of 100% raw to older dogs if they seem to be having difficulty eating or digesting their meals.
Antioxidants & Supplements
Many commercial pet food brands claim to add extra oxidants to their products, which are meant to counteract damage caused by free radicals over a long period of time. (Free radicals are reactive molecules found all around us known to cause damage to our healthy cells over time.)
These antioxidants may reduce cancer risks and aid with arthritis and weak immune systems. But take note , dry food usually has a long shelf life – so how unspoiled and effective can the important nutrients be? Science also tells us that molecules contained in vitamins and minerals are sensitive to heat, so why not just supplement your senior dog the natural way?
- Fresh fruits and veg contain beta-carotene and important vitamins such as C, E, A.
- Fish is packed with Omega 3 which is excellent for skin and joints.
- Raw meat contains ‘pure’ protein unaffected by heat processes.
- Raw meat with collagen (raw bones, trachea & muscle meat) is rich in organic sulfur and a great antioxidant
- MSN – organic sulfur (READ MORE here)
- Kefir – probiotic organisms (READ MORE here)
Want your senior pet to thrive?
Offer some relief and support their general health, it's never too late to make the switch. Remember, the benefits of feeding your pets a specie appropriate raw diet is particularly evident during the twilight years.
The Raw Love Team