The protein requirements for geriatric cats and dogs have not been determined. In
the absence of clinical or subclinical disease minimum protein requirements are probably
the same as for adults. It must be remembered that cats are obligate carnivores with
higher protein requirements than dogs.
Protein intake should be maintained near to the minimum requirement in situations
in which excessive protein intake is considered to be a risk factor for disease progression
(e.g. chronic renal failure); or when excessive protein intake may have a direct clinical
effect (e.g. hyperammonaemia in hepatic disease, and uraemia). It is controversial whether or
not early dietary restriction of protein may prevent the onset of age-related progression
of renal failure, though there is good experimental evidence that avoidance of excessive
protein intake delays progression once renal damage is present (see
It should be noted that no authorities recommend reducing protein intake below the
minimum requirement, and that in the presence of chronic renal failure protein requirements
may actually increase to twice that recommended for normal adult animals. Avoidance
of unnecessary excesses is recommended not restriction below actual requirements.
The term low protein' and protein restriction' which are in common use are therefore
Geriatric patients benefit from the feeding of high quality protein sources which
Protein sources with a high biological value include egg, liver and other animal
source ingredients. Cereals have a lower biological value, but feeding a ration containing
a mixture of plant and animal source materials can increase the overall biological
value of the protein in the food by providing a better balance of amino acids.
- highly digestible
- contain high concentrations of essential amino acids.