An Innovation for Senior Dogs

When a Dog Starts to Age

It can be hard to watch the dog you love enter old age. Seeing the companion you’ve known since he was a little puppy experience physical and mental problems can be heartbreaking. That’s why Purina is working hard to find groundbreaking ways to use nutrition to promote cognitive health in pets.

Recognizing Age-Related Cognitive Decline in Your Dog

To many pet owners, these problems appear to be physical, when in reality the dog’s body may be just fine. Their dog might seem like he is having trouble walking, losing the ability to understand physical surroundings, unable to recognize the people he loves or remember where he can find the food he eats every day. Dogs affected by age-related cognitive decline may also appear to have forgotten familiar commands.

The Risk All Dogs Face

Studies have found that 28% of dogs ages 11-12-years-old and 68% of dogs ages 15-16-years-old have one or more signs of age-related cognitive decline. These issues can seriously affect their quality of life.

What’s Going on Below the Surface

Typically, age-related cognitive decline is a slow and gradual process that begins in middle age and can be linked to a drop in brain glucose metabolism that occurs as dogs age. The outcome often results in memory loss, reduced social interaction, learning impairment and disorientation.

At Purina, We’re Using MCTs to Help Maintain Brain Health

MCTs are a common nutrient sourced from vegetable oils such as coconut oil.  We’ve discovered that a breakthrough diet blend containing MCTs provides an alternate way to fuel a dog’s brain. A research study confirmed significant improvements in behavior and cognition in as little as 30 days when senior dogs were fed diets with MCTs. Improvements were seen in attention span, trainability, decision making and overall cognitive function. 

A Wonderfully Simple Answer

Amazingly, a simple change in diet can start to enhance a dog’s existing brain function in as little as three weeks, making him more like he was when he was younger. Some dog owners have noticed an improvement within three days to three weeks after feeding their dogs the food containing MCTs, including a positive change in attention span, trainability, decision-making and overall cognitive function in their pets. 

Even our researchers were stunned by the results as they witnessed aging dogs who were switched to a complete and balanced dog food containing MCTs regain the ability to understand their surroundings, recognize their owners, respond to verbal commands, find what they were looking for around the house and become more active. 


If you’re wondering if there’s a human parallel to this nutritional discovery, we’ll say this. Our key scientists working on this project – Gary Pan, Janet Jackson and Mark Roos – are such big believers in the power of MCTs that they actually have homemade recipes for cookies made with them. You can add more MCTs to your diet by cooking and baking with coconut oil.


Keep an eye out for Purina dog food products that can help your dog enjoy life with the same sharp mind he’s always had. You just might be ensuring more days of love and connection between you and the dog you love.


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