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Old Dogs: the Best Nutrition

Knowing how to grow old is a masterpiece of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters within the great art of living ...

Old dogs: how best to manage the aging process?

Knowing how to grow old is a masterpiece of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters within the great art of living; so said Henri Amiel. After passing the years together with our dog, a faithful and beloved partner for life, ensuring it lives its elderly years as best possible is our responsibility and, as the Swiss philosopher believed, requires knowledge and wisdom. Feeding elderly dogs is clearly a significant and extremely relevant aspect.

OMEGA3 AND ANTIOXIDANTS

As in every life-phase, it’s crucial to ensure that our dog enjoys a healthy diet consisting of clean and healthy ingredients, but during old age an abundance of Omega3 and the presence of natural antioxidants becomes even more important.

Omega3, abundantly present, for example, in fish oil, are essential fatty acids ensuring anti-inflammatory actions, controlled growth of cells (especially adipose cells) and elasticity. They also significantly reduce the risk of obesity and frequent and apparently unexplained damage to tissue elasticity (damaged cruciate ligaments, collateral ligaments or meniscus, dislocations, sprains, damaged intervertebral discs, birth difficulties). Their optimized balance with Omega6 is the basis of a healthy diet.

Antioxidants, present for example within botanicals, true health superheroes, delay cell aging and are another great ally during this stage of your dog's life.

AN INTEGRATED NUTRITIONAL PROGRAM

Furthermore, as they age, so dogs often tend to drink less. It’s thus particularly recommended to mix dry and wet food, optimizing water intake and better meeting the water needs while reducing the risk of urinary tract disorders. In this case it’s essential to implement an Integrated Nutritional Program, where dry food, wet food and treats are coordinated to complement each-other in complete synergy.

HIGH DIGESTIBILITY

Elderly dogs don’t absorb all the active ingredients from the food as before, with the intestine no longer operating as well in achieving this. It is thus essential to optimize this process and allow the dog to absorb everything it needs, also because elderly dogs lose muscle mass more easily. The food must therefore be highly digestible.

BEWARE OF THE MOUTH AND TEETH

Another element requiring particular attention is tooth health, where tartar deposits could easily develop. As with puppies, this remains a delicate aspect concerning older dogs. It is essential to prevent this, and only if necessary should the Vet clean this away, as this requires a general anesthetic which is best avoided. Special snacks are available to clean the teeth and remove tartar, helping to maintain a hygienic oral cavity.

BEWARE OF OBESITY

As we age our metabolism slows down, so we must adjust the dosage to prevent obesity and keep the dog in good shape. The problems affecting overweight dogs are the same for people. Elderly dogs are more prone to diabetes, cancer, heart problems, pancreatitis, hernias and skeletal muscle problems, especially if the joints are overburdened. Obesity is also a vicious circle, because the heavier they get the less they move, the less they move the heavier they get. Close attention to doses and the type of food is therefore fundamental.

ACTIVITY

Do not be afraid if your dog develops white hair or the eye’s crystalline lens turns white due to nuclear sclerosis. Its hearing could gradually lose accuracy, as may its sense of smell, making it pickier. Don’t be discouraged and on the contrary, despite its age it is necessary to take the dog for walks, allowing it to live experiences, keeping it alive and active, especially mentally to not allow the onset of mental issues. A proper diet and sufficient movement are two great allies to slow down these processes and allow your life partner to age correctly.

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Urinary Tract Infections in cats, also known as “UTIs” are caused by colonized bacteria in the urinary tract. The UTI can affect the cat’s urinary system, bladder, and urethra. This type of infection can be particularly painful for your cat and symptoms can sometimes be associated with other health concerns such as kidney failure. It is very important to recognize the symptoms early as some cases of this condition can be fatal. 

 

How To Tell if Your Cat May Have a UTI

 

If you think that your cat may have a urinary tract infection it is important to find out in order to have it treated as soon as possible. We have included a list of symptoms for you to watch out for. If you recognize these symptoms you should seek veterinary assistance. While UTIs affect both male and female cats, some cats may be at higher risk than others such as cats that are older, overweight, or have diabetes. 

 

UTI Symptoms and Warning Signs for Cats:

  • Fever
  • Urinating is done in short bursts rather than a continuous stream
  • Spending more time than usual in the litter box
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Crying or whining while urinating
  • Your cat is urinating before it can get to the litter box
  • Urine with any trace of blood
  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Unusual discomfort around the rear area when touched or pet
  • The cat is lethargic 
  • Urine smell is stronger than normal 

 

Why Is My Cat Having Frequent Urinary Tract Infections?

There are many reasons why your cat may be suffering from repeat UTIs, some may be preventable. While there is no way to guarantee your cat will not have another UTI, there may be some things you can do to reduce the likelihood of it happening. In some cases the cause could simply be the age of your cat. While there is nothing that can be done about that, other variables like the cat’s diet can be modified to help. 


Other causes of UTIs in Cats:

  • Poor hygiene near the genitile area 
  • Bladder stones
  • External or Internal Injuries
  • Tumors
  • FIV, also known as feline immunodeficiency virus

 

What Can I Do To Prevent Or Reduce The Likelihood of a UTI in my Cat?

No cat owner wants to see their beloved pet suffer from a UTI. To keep your cat feeling great and reduce the chances of a UTI occurring, follow these guidelines:

  • Always provide your cat with fresh water
  • Ensure your cat’s litter trays are clean and easily accessible 
  • Keep an extra litter tray available 
  • Maintain a stress-free environment for your cat 

By following these guidelines you can do your part to help keep your cat healthy, happy, and free of urinary tract infections. If you suspect any symptoms, keep an eye on your pet’s behavior, if symptoms persist or worsen, contact your vet. 

 

Which Remedies or Treatments Can Be Used When Your Cat Has a UTI?

While the severity of the infection plays a key role in what treatments may be used to help your cat when it has a UTI, a minor infection may be treatable at home. 


Due to their acidity, cranberries, just like in humans, may be used to help cure a urinary tract infection. The acidity in the cranberries can be effective at lowering the pH of your cat’s urine, helping to reduce the symptoms, or beat the infection altogether. While you may be tempted to treat your cat’s UTI with cranberry juice, it may be better to use cranberry pills or powder due to the high sugar content of cranberry juice. 


Another treatment option for your cat’s UTI is apple cider vinegar. This also helps reduce the pH in your cat’s urine. Since your cat will most likely not want to eat the apple cider vinegar on its own, you can try adding a half teaspoon to their food each day or mix it with an onion-free broth. 


Before giving your cat cranberries or apple cider vinegar, test their urine for alkaline levels with an at-home kit or specialized cat litter. You can also have the test done professionally by your veterinarian. 


Here are some other products that you can use to help support urinary tract infection in your cat:



If your dog just started throwing up and refusing to eat, it may be nothing to be too concerned about, but just in case, it is good to know the warning signs for pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis is a condition that will need to be treated, sometimes at home but certain circumstances mean it is time to take your pet to the vet. 

The pancreas is a gland within the abdomen that helps digest food and control blood sugar levels. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, this is known as pancreatitis. It is important to be aware of the two types of pancreatitis in dogs, acute and chronic pancreatitis. While acute pancreatitis can be reversed it can come on strong and lead to extreme illness. Chronic pancreatitis occurs when permanent changes have occurred in the pancreatic tissue. 

This means that while a case of pancreatitis can pass on its own after a short period of time, sometimes it can be a lingering issue.  

Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Dogs 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever 
  • Low body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargic
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Dehydration
  • Irregular heartbeat

While some of these symptoms can pass on their own and do not necessarily mean your dog is suffering from pancreatitis, if you see them lasting for more than a day it may be time to consult your veterinarian.

Although your vet may be able to diagnose your dog based on symptoms, they will most likely need to do some testing to be sure. These tests usually consist of either bloodwork or an ultrasound which will allow the vet to see what is going on within the dog’s digestive system. 


The Potential Causes of Pancreatitis in Dogs

Now that we have a better understanding of the symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs, it is time to look at what causes it. While the cause of pancreatitis is often unknown, here are some factors that it can frequently be associated with: 

  • A high-fat diet - the likeness of this being a contributing factor is even higher in dogs who eat one large serving of fatty food in a single sitting
  • A poor or unbalanced diet
  • Excessive consumption of human food
  • Dog is overweight 
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Severe blunt trauma near the abdomen
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Some medications and toxins  
  • In some instances it could simply be genetics. Some breeds such as Miniature Schnauzers and small terriers may be more likely to suffer from pancreatitis than others. 

It is important to keep these potential causes in mind and to do what you can to avoid any habits that could contribute to your dog developing pancreatitis. Beyond that, veterinarians agree that a diet rich in fiber along with probiotics can be effective in reducing the symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs. It may even help them recover sooner in the event that they are already dealing with it. 


Here are some additional products from Forza10 that may help your pet deal with this condition:
 

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