Research by Euromonitor International suggested that improved nutrition, healthcare and other factors have led to dogs and cats living longer, which created opportunities for pet food manufacturers to produce premium cat and dog food and treats formulated for older animals’ biological needs, reported Pets International.

The population of older dogs and cats has grown as a result of these increases in life expectancy, according to the report. This trend was forecast to continue at least until 2020.

Analysis by Euromonitor International

“Despite the rising prevalence of pet obesity, advances in nutrition and veterinary care, increased consumer expenditure on pet healthcare, a reduction in pet euthanisation, and the increased prevalence of pets living indoors are among the factors that have contributed to an increase in the life expectancy of dogs and cats,” Damian Shore, contributing analyst at Euromonitor International told Pets International. “This has resulted in an expanding population of pets, where the average life expectancy of dogs rose to a record high of 13.2 years during 2014.

"Products targeting dogs and cats by life stage are well established, with therapeutic brands such as Colgate-Palmolive’s Hill’s Prescription Diet and Hill’s Science Diet and Mars’s Royal Canin Veterinary Diet particularly active in this regard,” said Shore. “A key issue is whether such offerings can thrive in a marketplace where 'natural' has become a key selling point and ingredient lists are getting shorter – a trend that has helped to make Blue Buffalo the leader in North American premium dog food. Many owners have come to believe that feeding their dogs this type of diet is the key to a long and healthy life. With this in mind, Nestlé is planning to launch a grain-free version of Bright Mind in 2017. Blue Buffalo is also trying to have the best of both worlds with its Blue Natural Veterinary Diet brand. Such products point towards a future where products targeting senior pets contain functional ingredients, while, at the same time, being positioned as natural.”