Part 4

When you know how seniors feed their pets, you can help them choose more balanced and nutritious, homemade alternatives
Seniors feed pets nutritious homemade snacks of dehydrated tripe and sweet potato

Today I present the final article in this four-part series and analyze how seniors feed their pets and keep them hydrated. For the past three weeks you have read about a wide range of subjects that share a common theme.  A theme with a focus on how retirees, and those approaching retirement age, care for their dogs and cats. 

Even though we interviewed only a small number of people—some of whom have multiple pets—the findings are insightful. Most importantly, they give other pet guardians ideas to try out as well as actions to avoid. In fact, we very much want this to be a learning experience to benefit all animal lovers.

Our Bodies Are Similar

Nowadays, most of us realize that without nutritious food and water that is toxin free, the body’s essential functions are compromised. And when this occurs, the resulting health issues can range from minor to life-threatening. 

As we have seen in recent years, humans are definitely paying a lot of attention to the benefits of certain foods. They are educating themselves so as to avoid those foods which can cause harm and illness. However, they are not just thinking of themselves. People of all ages also want no less for the dogs and cats that share their home. 

Homemade Is Better

Related to choosing healthy food for pets is the concern about recalls of dry and canned pet food. Anything but healthy, a number of different food products have been found to contain harmful ingredients and even foreign matter, such as pieces of plastic. Consequently, it’s no wonder that pet parents everywhere, from millennials to retirees, are starting to prepare Fido’s and Fluffy’s food from scratch. 


To give you an idea of what to expect, here are a some bullet points. As you will soon see, they introduce the survey findings, plus some facts and tips that indicate how seniors are feeding their pets.

Food And Mealtimes

  • number of meals
  • free-fed or measured
  • wet or dry
  • home-cooked
  • how quickly kibble can turn rancid

Treats And Rewards

  • over-treating
  • healthy treats
  • rewarding good behavior
  • parent’s guilt
  • medication disguise

Water, Quality And Quantity

  • tap or bottled
  • optimum daily intake
  • water fountains
  • flat-faced breeds alert
  • bowl bacteria buildup 




The Findings

Food, glorious food! Before we get into substance, why don’t we look at the number of meals and quantities.    

Breakfast and dinner, measured – most parents

All day self-feeding a/k/a grazing – a few parents

One meal only per day, dinner, measured – one person

Doggy detox fasting one day a week, just like Mom – one person 

Dry food, often referred to as kibble or biscuits, was the overwhelming preference for convenience and price for both canines and felines. Some doggy parents like to give it more flavor by adding a spoonful or two of wet food, usually canned. Alternatively, they add a small amount of diced chicken breast or roast beef, or a drizzling of broth. 

Around 50 percent of the kitties are given only dry food. The rest have either a small quantity of wet added to the dry, or they will get all dry for one meal and all wet for the second meal of the day.

The Exceptions

– The wet and dry food offered to these UK-based cats called Sylvester and Toulouse was of superior quality, made from ethically sourced ingredients with a high percentage of pure meat, fish and seafood.

– For breakfast, a US-based Mom (could that be me?) feeds her cat called TBD canned tuna with a very small amount of finely chopped spinach or broccoli and spring water added, and dinner comprises home-cooked chicken livers with some of the left over liquid mixed in.

– And, I saved the best for last! Joanna, who lives in Australia, used to have a catering business and understands nutrition. Nowadays she caters for her cats White Cat and ‘Fraidy Cat, and dog Elskar. “Doggie diet is chicken ’n’ veggies, beef ’n’ rice, fish ’n’ chips (sweet potato). Kitty chow is fish, chicken and lamb,” Joanna states. She also makes all their treats, biscuits and chews.

An Interesting Fact

Cooking is not necessarily that much more time-consuming, nor is it more expensive than food picked off the grocery shelf when you buy in bulk.

Tips Times Three

1. Don’t spoil your pet by over-feeding it.

2. Dry food turns rancid fast when stored in a large plastic bin in the garage.

3. If a cat turns up its nose at the food, it’s trying to tell you something.


The Findings

Kudos to everyone who offers treats sparingly! Henry is one fortunate cat. His parents do not want him to overeat and become overweight or obese when he gets older, instead stay handsome and fit! And, to be absolutely fair to the gang of two members plus, if one of them gets disguised meds, then the rest are treated to the disguise!

An Interesting Fact

Treats that are packaged as treats are not food and should not be used as a substitute for your pet’s mealtime food, or snack for in-between mealtimes.

Tips Times Three

1. Limit treat giving to reward obedience and a good job done.

2. Never reward bad behavior with a treat.

3. Avoid using treats to make yourself feel less guilty for leaving your pet alone.


The Findings

Without exception, pets drink what their owners drink. Filtered tap water is fine for Puff. Bottled drinking water is fine for most. And, my Muffie (R.I.P) always used to get bottled spring water.

An Interesting Fact

Most dogs should drink between half an ounce and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. A cat of average size and weight will need between 5 and 10 ounces of water per day.

Tips Times Three

1. Wash the water bowl frequently to avoid build up of pink slime.

2. Cats prefer to drink from a water fountain.

3. Brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds require a higher intake of H2O than most dogs and cats.


I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-series and look forward to receiving your comments and answering your questions.


Humans: Patti, Bob, Carol, Lanny, Anna S, Patricia, Jeff, Pam, Anna V, Judy, Andrew, Veronica, Joanna, Jean, Rita and myself. 

Canines: Good Jake, Trip, Pandora, Logan, Dixie, Elskar. 

Felines: Henry, Sandy, Puff, Jade, Buttercup, Sylvester, Toulouse, Muffie, TBD, White Cat, ‘Fraidy Cat.

Locations: USA, England, France, Australia

DNA: Australian Shepherd, Blue Tick Hound, Long-Hair Dachshund, Domestic Medium Hair, Domestic Short Hair, Labrador, Maine Coon, Malamute, Newfoundland, Pomeranian, Siamese, Who Knows!

Rescued/Adopted: 99%

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

More must-read articles in this mini series.

An introduction to my interviews with retiree pet parents in this 4-part series:

Retirees talk about IDs, walks and vet visits:

What concerns retirees the most about caring for their pets?

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