Correct management and adapting diets to a dog’s changing nutritional requirements over their entire lifespan is essential for long-term health, wellness and longevity. The key to ageing, is to do it well. Strategies delaying the ageing process and frailty, involve keeping the pet’s body running smoothly and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Ageing is a process of progressive degeneration of the body’s systems, along with changes in metabolism. Outward signs of ageing in dogs can include poor fur condition, weakness, changes in body composition such as loss of lean muscle mass and increased fat deposition, reduced stamina or muscle weakness, reduced mobility due to joint and bone issues, and reduced cognitive and visual processing capabilities. We also know that during ageing, the efficacy and functionality of the immune, renal, cardio-vascular and digestive systems can be impaired.
The rate of ageing is affected by genetics, nutrition and environment. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association the average age when a dog is considered senior is 7 years old, with deviations from this point, attributed to the dog’s size. As an example, giant breed dogs, such as the Great Dane can be considered senior or even geriatric, when they are just 5 or 6 years of age.
Appropriate nutritional intervention adapted for the senior phase of a dog’s life is therefore important, and is one tool that has shown to help address some age-related health concerns. Such intervention thereby supports the senior dog’s quality of life, which consequently helps them to maintain good activity levels and connection with their owners. In addition to formulating the diet with optimal amounts of amino acids, fat, fibre and minerals known to be appropriate for the senior dog, ensuring optimal inclusion of vitamins, antioxidants and key nutraceuticals can help provide the extra nutritional support that senior dogs need in their later years.
The desire of pet parents to invest heavily in their pet’s health, just as they would for any other family member means that cost of veterinary care can be substantial. This drives pet owner interest in finding alternative or additional solutions to support their ageing companion. DSM survey data shows that pet parents can recognise the value of optimal intakes of vitamins, antioxidants and other key nutraceuticals for their senior dogs. For instance, 81% agreed with the statement that “Vitamins E, C and beta-carotene will help support my dogs ageing immune system”. 79% agreed with the statement that “Feeding a diet, enriched with DHA Omega 3 nutritionally supports my senior dog’s brain to help maintain their memory and support vision”.
DSM survey data also revealed that 79% of owners strongly agreed that “It is important to help my dog remain active as he/she grows older”. This desire helps fuel the need for functional nutrition products that are positioned towards keeping dogs active long into their senior years. DSM pet owner studies worldwide have additionally demonstrated that pet food and snacks positioned around the concept of “Senior Agility”, were amongst the highest ranking in terms of purchase intent, believability and uniqueness scores.
Starting with our DSM Optimum Vitamin Nutrition (OVN®) premix formulation, which considers process and storage losses of sensitive micro-nutrients, we developed DSM ROVIMIX® Senior Agility premix. DSM’s ROVIMIX® SENIOR AGILITY premix is therefore designed to simplify the process to help pet food companies achieve their goal of developing a micro- nutrient fortification strategy, not only addressing age related health concerns, but also being in-line with consumer trends related to wellness. We have leveraged knowledge of canine nutrition and our own pet consumer insights data to create a more targeted approach to both the micro-nutrient fortification of a complete and balanced pet food and a wellness message that resonates with pet consumers. It contains key nutrients that support wellness claims associated with our Senior Agility pet food concept which ranked high in our pet owner surveys.
Designed to support an older dog’s brain health and physical wellbeing, the Senior Agility premix formula includes support for:
Mental Agility – DHAgold®, a wholesome marine algae, nutritionally supports the senior dog’s brain, to help maintain their vision and memory.
Physical Agility – The combination of L-Carnitine and B vitamins help support fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism for an active, lean body, and optimal mobility. Plus, added glucosamine* helps support joint health and vitamin D helps maintain bone integrity, so they stay active longer.
Immune and Cellular System Agility – Natural defences and cellular protection systems are optimally supported and strengthened through dietary enrichment with antioxidants vitamin C, E and beta-carotene.
Fur/Hair Agility – Biotin supplementation supports the continuous nutritional demand of growing skin, fur, and hair. Optimum levels of biotin are required for a bright, shiny, and soft coat; including support for the normal shedding process associated with animals with fur.
*claims related to glucosamine and other nutrients maybe restricted in some regions
Nutritional support is one way we can help add more life to our dog’s years. It is what “Senior Agility” is all about. Full utilization of functional ingredients to optimize body function is critical to maintaining a state of well-being for our senior dogs.
23 September 2019
Sarah-Jane is an Animal Science graduate from Nottingham University in the UK. She has been with DSM Nutritional Products since June 2006. Prior to working at DSM, she worked for a national feed compounder as a monogastric nutritionist. Sarah-Jane is an experienced pet food technical and marketing manager, passionate about supporting the health and welfare of pets. Not only at DSM pets focus her daily work, they also feature at home. Sarah-Jane is a pet parent to an Irish Cob pony and two lively yellow Labradors.
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