When it comes to nutrition, the most common question we get is "What type of food should we feed?" followed by "When should we transition from puppy food to adult food?" These are very important questions, but they aren't the only questions you should be asking when it comes to your pets' nutrition. It is just as important to appropriately transition your pet to a senior diet and make changes to how you feed them as they age. Before we even consider diet changes, we have to determine at what age your pet is considered a senior. The general rule for dogs and cats is seven years old, though larger breeds start to exhibit signs of aging earlier than smaller breeds. This is the age we recommend switching to a food designed for senior pets and also bi-annual exams.
While it can be normal for senior pets to have a decreased appetite as they age, sometimes there could be something else going on. Dental, gastrointestinal, or kidney issues can cause a decrease in appetite as well. If you notice other symptoms coupled with your pet's decreased appetite, we recommend bringing them in for a thorough exam. Your pet may require a special diet depending on their diagnosis. Generally speaking, these prescription diets will trump a senior diet because they are specially formulated for your pet's specific condition.
Some people may prefer to cook for their senior pet at home. This can be an alternative to store-bought kibble, but there are steps needed to ensure it is nutritional balanced. If you are interested in preparing food at home, we strongly urge you consult with a veterinary nutritionist first.