FEDIAF, the European pet food industry federation, has published a new expert paper with key information about the nutritional needs of older dogs.
Dr Thomas Brenten, chairman of FEDIAF’s nutrition and 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.”
Responding to the increasing number of senior dogs in the canine population, the FEDIAF expert group has formulated a new paper on the nutritional needs of senior dogs in order to inform both the industry and the public.
The new paper includes a comprehensive collection of recent scientific data. It explains the different life expectancies of dogs related to their size, and defines when ‘old age’ sets in.
Dr Brenten added: “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.
“Many of these can be addressed via nutrition.”
The paper also gives practical guidance to pet owners for feeding an older dog. It explains how changes in the digestive tract can affect food intake, or how food texture may become a crucial factor.
Furthermore, it explains how ageing can lead to changes in energy metabolism and alter the nutrient requirements of senior dogs – e.g. ensuring they receive 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. Since 2010, advisory board members have assisted FEDIAF in updating the FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines