Just like people, it is inevitable pets will undergo physical and mental changes as the years go by. However, also just like people, there are a multitude of things to be done to minimize those changes and maximize senior health and well being! There are some variations due to size and breed, but most pets are considered senior by the age of seven. Here are some tips to help your pet make the most of his or her golden years:
• Nutrition is critical! Both what you feed your pet and how much you feed can have a huge impact on your senior pet’s overall health!
1. Keeping your pet at a lean and healthy weight will minimize wear and tear on the joints, reduce the risk of trauma to the joints, improve energy levels and can allow the internal organs to function better.
2. Many Senior Diets are specifically designed to maintain a healthy weight, healthy joints, decrease the workload for the kidneys, improve digestion and can even affect brain function. Be aware that not all diets are created equal – ask us for a recommendation specific to your senior pet’s needs.
• ‘Slowing Down’ – ie stiffness, limping, not wanting to jump up on or into things is often a sign that your pet is suffering from some degree of osteoarthritis. From nutritional supplements to safe and effective medications, we have many options available to help keep your pet active and comfortable. Pets can’t or won’t always tell us when it hurts so we need to watch for subtle signs and act accordingly.
• Even small changes in appetite, drinking or bathroom habits can be a sign of more serious underlying disease and always warrant further investigation.
• Regular physical exams and screening blood tests (Geriatric Health Screen) can help identify early changes in your pet’s health so we can take the appropriate steps to intervene. Older senior pets should be examined every 6 months.
• Cancer can be more common in senior pets – all lumps and bumps should be investigated ASAP!
• Dental disease is very common in older pets and its not just about bad breath! Left untreated, periodontal disease and/or loose or broken teeth can be very painful and be a source of infection in the body. Having a dentistry done under general anesthesia to clean teeth and remove diseased or broken teeth can make your pet feel a LOT better!
Questions?? Please feel free to give us a call at 705-759-8888