It makes sense to continue providing all the same things your pet expects and relies on, but as pets age so do their needs. The once super-crunchy kibble hurts their teeth or the GI tract. Their usual daily jog turns into a slower, longer walk. The flawless jump they used to make becomes a huge challenge.
Your senior pet probably won’t slow down overnight, but even the gradual shift between adulthood and their golden years can be surprising. Prioritizing senior pet health and wellness can help your aging cat or dog live their remaining years in comfort and safety.
Aging Pets and Senior Wellness
Age-related illness is common in older pets. However, many health issues associated with aging can be prevented with routine veterinary care and owner involvement. By upholding the importance of senior pet wellness exams and diagnostics, we can detect developing problems before they get out of hand.
Upping the Ante
Pets over the age of 6 or 7 should be examined twice a year. By increasing the frequency of exams we decrease the risk of missing something. Identifying even subtle changes in their health or behavior can have a significant impact on their day to day wellness, and longevity.
Routine blood work and diagnostic screenings, such as urinalysis, X-rays and ultrasounds can reveal various age-related illnesses like kidney or liver disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.
We also pay close attention to dental care in your senior pet. Since periodontal disease can affect the health of the body’s major organs we do our best to stay in front of developing issues.
Daily Senior Pet Care
Pain plays a fairly large role in the lives of many senior pets. Whether your pet has a chronic medical issue or is suffering from an acute illness or injury, they may benefit from certain supplemental therapies, a prescription diet, or nutritional supplements to improve comfort and quality of life.
Supporting Senior Pet Health
Your grey-muzzled friend would probably appreciate an orthopedic or memory foam bed away from cold drafts, loud noise and unpredictable foot traffic. It’s also important to remove any barriers or obstacles to their litter box or exit outside. Ramps, step-ups, raised food and water trays, and more can enrich their environment.
Try not to move the furniture around or change their environment suddenly.
As the old saying goes, use it or lose it. Aging pets appear like they need to sleep or lie around more, but the truth is they must stay active to remain healthy. Keeping them trim will help with symptoms of osteoarthritis. Keep up with mental stimulation, like hide and seek, food puzzles, etc.
Behaviors and Personalities
It is common for a senior pet to become a little irritable or grouchy. This can stem from pain or illness. Equally possible, is the development of separation anxiety, clinginess, and depression. Please stay aware of any shifts in your senior pet’s behavior, and let us know if you have concerns.
Rockin’ Through the Ages
There really isn’t anything better than a loyal cat or dog that’s been with you since they were young. If we can assist you with any questions pertaining to their special needs, our staff is always here for you at Advantage Veterinary Center.