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Wide variety in nutritional content found in 'senior' dog foods
Date:3/16/2011

these, too, varied widely (Protein 4.8 to 13.1 g/100 kcal, fat 2.4 to 6.3 g/100 kcal, sodium 33 to 412 mg/100 kcal). "If an owner, for example, had a senior dog with heart disease, they might be inclined to feed them a senior food, thinking that it had less sodium," says the study's corresponding author, Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, a professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School and a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. "Instead, they might replace a diet that had a perfectly acceptable amount of sodium for one that is considerably higher."

Respondents were unsure whether, when compared to adult dog foods, senior foods would contain more or less phosphorousrestrictions of which may be beneficial in dogs with kidney disease. The actual diets had a three-fold difference in phosphorous content, including one diet that contained three times the AAFCO minimum for the mineral.

Sixty-three percent of the respondents said that ingredients were the most important factor when selecting a food for a senior dog. "This shows that we have much more work to do to educate the public," said Hutchinson, Freeman's co-author. "Factors that are equally, if not more, important are that the food is made by a well-established companyone with at least one veterinary nutritionist or qualified nutritionist on-staffthat has proven the food's nutritional adequacy through AAFCO feeding trials, and that has rigorous quality control standards."

The study illustrates a great deal of confusion in the marketplace, Freeman says, and it's important for owners to be aware that every "senior diet" is different and so may or may not be appropriate for an individual dog, depending upon his or her body condition and health.

"The decision to buy a certain type of food for your aging dog is an emotional one: you want to extend her life and ensure she's healthy well into her twilight years," Dr. Freeman says. However, not all older dogs require a senior die
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Contact: Tom Keppeler
508-839-7910
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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