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December 2012 Ask the Vet

Q: Is it necessary for my senior dog to have senior dog food?

A: Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) does not describe the minimum diet profile for a senior lifestyle as they do for the adult maintenance lifestyle and the condition of growth and reproduction.

A senior type diet is typically described as being less dense in protein and fat with increased carbohydrate and fiber. For an example see Wellness® Complete Health® Super5Mix® Just for Seniors; it has a caloric density of 340 kcal per cup. This may be correct for some senior dogs, while not the first choice for others.  An example would be an old dog of thin body condition.

It is best to choose the diet based on your assessment of optimal body condition and body weight of each individual. Seek the input of your veterinarian concerning senior dog care and routine preventative programs available.

Q: My cat gets UTIs and I can’t figure out why.  Should I switch her food?

A: I would schedule a veterinary appointment to get to the bottom of the problem of chronic urinary tract symptoms; bloody urine, straining to urinate and urinating outside the litter box.  The workup should include a complete urinalysis.  At least one lateral radiograph should be taken as bladder stones are an issue in 20-25% of recurrent cases.  In the meantime feed a grain free, fish based, and moist diet like: canned feline CORE® Grain-Free Salmon, Whitefish & Herring Formula. It contains 192 kcal per 5.5 oz can.

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