Senior dogs and cats need a low-protein
diet to protect against kidney disease.
It's a myth
Years ago, lower protein levels for senior pet diets
were recommended as a way to avoid potential
kidney damage. Many consumers still believe that
as their dogs and cats age, they should be fed diets
with less protein.
Evidence shows that the protein levels
in complete and balanced diets do not
adversely affect the kidney function of
healthy older pets.1
- The old myth was based on rodent research done
in the 1940s that has since been disproven.
- More recent studies have looked at dietary protein
in both healthy older dogs and in dogs with kidney
failure. These studies have confirmed that protein
does not adversely affect the kidneys.2,3
- Phosphorus restriction, rather than protein
restriction, is important once dogs or cats develop
Senior dogs and cats have a greater need
for protein than young adult pets. 4,5
- Protein requirements actually increase by about
50% in older dogs, while their calorie needs tend
- Older cats also need more protein than their
- Because older pets metabolize protein less
efficiently, they can benefit from a diet with
ample supplies of high-quality protein.
- Increased protein can actually help slow age-related
loss of lean body mass and support a healthy
Contrary to popular belief, a diet rich in protein may
be beneficial for aging pets. There is no medical
evidence indicating that a high-protein diet leads to
kidney damage in dogs or cats.