One of the beautiful things about our pets is that we continue to find new reasons to love them, no matter their age. Even though our pets tend to slow down as they enter their golden years, they still have an immense amount of love to share. If you’ve had one of those moments where you realized your dog was getting a little gray around the muzzle or your cat has used several of their nine lives, you likely want to make some changes to your pet’s routine care to fit their changing needs. What does your senior pet wish they could tell you?
“As I Age, I Become More Vulnerable to Health Issues”
One of the most difficult realities of senior pets is that they are more prone to developing health problems. To make the matter even more serious, they’re also more fragile when it comes to these health issues. This is why you should increase your pet’s veterinary visits to at least twice per year.
Luckily, there are many ways we can work together to provide your pet with the best life despite their aging issues. Early diagnosis is key to preventing a minor problem from becoming a major concern. Catching problems early protects your pet’s quality of life and lifespan.
What are the most common issues you should watch for?
Cancer is the most common disease to take the lives of pets over the age of ten. About 50% of senior pets will develop cancer.
Cancer is not a life sentence for many pets, though. Many forms of cancer can be treated. From surgery to immunotherapy, there are ways to prevent the spread and progression of cancer and stop it in its tracks.
Some forms of cancers can even be prevented. Having your pet spayed or neutered is the first step.
You can also vaccinate your cat and keep your pet’s weight under control.
Additionally, a healthy diet can make a world of difference.
Watch for changes in your pet’s bathroom habits. If you notice any lumps and bumps, especially those around the mouth and jaw, bring your pet in to see us. Sores that do not heal also need immediate attention.
Memory loss and dementia are not unique to people--our pets struggle with them, too. Watch for signs that your pet’s cognitive ability is in decline. You may notice a change in routine, your pet acting confused or lost, or vocalizing at odd times.
• Arthritis and Joint Issues
Does your pet take a few extras moments to stretch when getting up? Older pets tend to suffer from joint deterioration and other mobility issues. If you notice your pet is a little stiff after a nap or slow to climb stairs, they may be in pain.
Joint supplements can help your pet rebuild cartilage and lubricate their joints. Most supplements also contain glucosamine and chondroitin which have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce joint pain.
We can also help manage chronic or acute pain.
“I still enjoy walks and playtime.”
Keeping your pet moving can prevent injuries from slips, falls, strains, sprains, and breaks. Staying active helps pets maintain their muscle tone and balance. Playtime also provides your pet with much-needed mental stimulation, which keeps them sharp, can slow dementia, and lessens anxiety and depression.
“My nutritional needs have changed.”
Older pets experience a slowing in metabolism. This means they need fewer calories, but still need a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Senior pets also benefit from diets tailored to their health needs. From urinary tract health to weight control, we can help you find the right diet for your beloved pet.
If you notice your pet is itchier or struggling with digestion, a change in diet may help. Make an appointment if you have questions about your pet’s nutritional needs.
“I Would Love New Comfort Items.”
Our pets do not ask for much. They may beg for treats here and there, but they don’t know how to ask for other items like a new bed or stairs to help get into bed. So, what would they ask for if they could?
- A warm sweater or comfy coat for walks
- An orthopedic pet bed
- Joint support supplements
- Stairs or a ramp to make getting to their favorite spots easier.
- Rugs for slippery surfaces
- A litter box with lower walls
Does Your Senior Pet Deserve the Best?
Of course they do! If you’re looking for the best, give your pet the gift of health at Battletown Animal Hospital. We have a special place in our hearts for senior pets. You can trust that your pet will receive all of our attention and the necessary tests to give you peace of mind and detect any hidden illnesses.
Don’t delay your pet’s appointment. There are too many fun activities awaiting your senior pet. We’re here all winter, so give us a call.
Photo Credit: Pexels.