CARING FOR YOUR OLDER
HOW OLD IS YOUR
Since the aging
process differs with individuals as well as with other factors. The
following chart should be used only as a guideline.
A one year old dog
is physiologically about equal to a 13 year old child, while a 2 year
old dog is like about a 20 year old young adult. If we look at an
average life span of about 11 years for all dogs being equal to an
average of 65 for humans, than we can estimate that each year from age 3
on is equal to about 5 human years.
WHEN IS MY PET “OLD”?
Old is defined by Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary as “having existed for a
specified period of time” or “originating in a past era”. Old, as related to
our pets, varies with the individual but, as a rule of thumb, a dog about seven
years is growing older.
Aging in the pet is similar to aging in man and other species, it’s a gradual
thing with almost imperceptible changes seemingly occurring overnight. Changes
such as a slowing of metabolism and, therefore, decreased caloric needs.
Although the nutrients needed do not change, the amounts needed of some
nutrients change, A decrease in resistance to disease occurs and therefore, a
need to better control the pet’s environment and make sure he has the correct
vaccinations if any and periodic check-ups.
Proper nutrition is important in an older dog. Nutrition may be defined as the
process of assimilating food for the biochemical process of living. We all must
receive nourishment via the food we eat to perform the essential functions of
living. It has been demonstrated in a number of animal species that extremes of
under-or over-feeding can severely impact the life span. Early medical writers
paid a great deal of attention to diet. They carefully noted the characteristics
and qualities of foods recognizing that fruits, vegetables, and lean meat are
conducive to lean physical condition whereas fats, legumes, and cereals tended
to put on fat.
The basic concept of nutrition for life is differing needs of dogs based
on their activity, physiological state, and age. It stands to reason that nutritional
programming along with a veterinary supervised health program plus responsible
pet ownership can lead to a longer and healthier life for our pets.
“Good nutrition an essential component of any preventive
medicine program. The nutrient requirements vary with age, activity level,
environmental conditions, and physiologic state”.
Older dogs need a lower
quantity of protein of higher quality with a better balance of amino acids.
FIBER Fiber is required to help regulate the moisture content of the
feces to help alleviate constipation.
VITAMINS Additional vitamins are necessary to compensate for
the loss of water-soluble vitamins, due to increased water consumption and
excretion, common in the older dog.
MINERALS Lower amounts of calcium, phosphorus and sodium chloride,
with a balance of other minerals are correct for the older dog.
Proper nutrition has some additional benefits for our pets, especially as they
grow older. Proper nutrition helps to:
Speed recovery from
illnesses, accidents, or surgery. Events like these can deplete the body of essential
Reduce the effects of parasitism.
the resistance to diseases.
Reduce the effects of arthritis by
controlling body weight.
Improve the quality of life when you
feel better everything goes better.
Reduce the effects of diet
with proper diet, exercise and medical care, along with lots of love, your pet
will live a long healthy happy life.