Older pets need protein even more than when they were younger
Like this Mastiff, older pets need protein to help the aging process

Contrary to what was previously thought, older pets need protein even more than when they were younger. That’s right. Senior dogs and cats actually need more, not less, protein from a nutritious diet of meat and fish.

Their kidney, liver and immune functions need extra help during the aging process and they get that by eating quality protein that is easily digestible and has sufficient moisture content.


The focus today is on meat. Meat is protein. And carnivores, like domesticated dogs and cats, and their ancestors in the wild, eat meat. That said, let’s take a look at protein.


A dog’s and cat’s body is made up almost entirely of protein which also plays a role in vital body functions such as digestion. In the digestive process, substances are either utilized or eliminated. 

Protein needs to be eaten daily because the body doesn’t store it for future use like it does fat. The body needs both sufficient protein as well as good quality protein to perform satisfactorily.


This organ—not eaten nearly enough by humans, by the way—has enormous nutritional value. It is packed with protein and is rich in minerals such as iron, trace minerals, and amino acids, as well as vitamins A, D and all the Bs.

So now, hopefully, we can all agree on the benefits of feeding our canine and feline friends meat and why older pets need protein from this source. But, do we all agree on when older pets actually become senior pets? Let’s find out.


It’s quite interesting to discover that veterinary professionals and pet parents have different ideas on the age that dogs and cats enter the “senior” category. A study shows that they do not agree. Veterinarians consider it starts earlier than pet parents do. Here’s the breakdown.


  • Most veterinarians and their staff say it is between 5 and 7 years old.
  • More than half of pet parents think it is between 7 and 9 years.


  • Most veterinarian professionals say by age 9. 
  • Most pet parents think it is by age 11.

Are you surprised by the stats? I certainly was!

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


After reading a teaser I had posted on LinkedIn about this topic, I received a brief comment from Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, Professor Emeritus at Tufts University, near Boston, Massachusetts, which I would like to share with you. “Unless they have renal insufficiency…”

Another article related to this topic stresses the importance of meat: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-food-meat-facts/

Click here for some tips on how to avoid overfeeding your pets, https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-food-quantity-control


Whether water comes from a bowl or drinking fountain, well-hydrated pets definitely stay healthier. Photo credit: TrainSimFan
Whether water comes from a bowl or drinking fountain, well-hydrated pets definitely stay healthier. Photo credit: TrainSimFan

As we all know, without water there is no life!  Besides, we can then logically conclude that well-hydrated pets stay healthier. In fact, just like us, our companion animals need it not only to stay alive, but must consume this precious liquid in the right amount. That’s because adequate hydration is an absolute necessity to help protect against illness and disease.

Hydrating Naturally

Water is a vital commodity that regulates body temperature, transports nutrients via the bloodstream, and eliminates waste and toxins. It also supports the organs (including the skin) and assists in every single one of the body’s complex functions.

In the wild, animals need water to maintain their basic body functions and stay strong to survive. They obtain it mostly from the different kinds of foods that they eat. In the case of carnivores, this comes from their prey.

Similarly, adequate hydration boosts pet health. Certainly, the dogs and cats that share our lives should be hydrated to a large extent by the food we give them. However, very often they are not. A diet of dark meat, chicken and fish has an abundance of moisture whereas it is obviously lacking in dry food.

How Much Water To Drink?

In order to be well-hydrated, most dogs should drink between half an ounce and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily.

And when it comes to cats of average size and weight, adequate hydration translates to between 5 and 10 ounces of water per day.

However, there are exceptions. Some pets require greater quantities than these.

  • puppies and kittens
  • toy breed dogs 
  • brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds of dogs and cats
  • senior dogs and cats
  • pets with certain medical conditions

Kitties Are A Little Different. But Who Knew!

When they are thirsty enough, kitties will drink from a water bowl. However, take another look at the photo at the top of this page. As you can tell, felines much prefer the constant trickle of this vital liquid when it comes from a pet water fountain.

To Sum Up

Pets that are well-hydrated generally stay healthier longer. So, if you are drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, then kudos to you. Now, you need to ensure that your companion animals are getting the amount that’s best for them, too.

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

For more must-read articles on drinking water, check these out.

Water for pets, and water for us: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/do-pets-share-your-drinking-water/

The best water bowls: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/best-pet-food-water-bowls/