Posts from June, 2018
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn back the clock on our aging pets so we could have more time with them? Unfortunately, until that time machine is invented, we’re at the mercy of nature when it comes to our senior pets. Whether your pet seems as youthful as ever or is beginning to show signs of their age, making senior pet preventive care a top priority will keep them comfortable, happy, and an active participant in the family throughout their golden years.
Managing Senior Pet Preventive Care
Most pets are considered senior around 7-9 years of age (this varies by breed and size). Because pets age much more rapidly than humans, we recommend that senior pets receive a preventive care exam at least twice per year. We will also perform an annual blood screening for earliest disease detection benefits. Frequent preventive care checks and diagnostic screenings can help us monitor for the diseases and health conditions that occur more often in older pets, such as high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.
Your pet’s preventive care visits are the perfect time to discuss changing nutritional needs, pain management strategies, and to let us know about any changes in behavior, habits, or appearance. Vaccinations, parasite prevention, and dental health continue to be important parts of your pet’s wellness plan as they age.
Nutrition and Weight Management
As your pet ages, their metabolism naturally changes. Older pets may benefit from reduced caloric intake, extra protein and fiber, and additional vitamins and minerals. Your veterinarian will work with you to come up with the right nutrition plan for your pet.
Obesity is a problem for pets of all ages, but senior pets are at greater risk of weight gain than their younger peers. Besides providing them with proper nutrition and portion control, daily age-appropriate exercise is a must when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, supporting good muscle tone, and reducing the pain associated with arthritis.
A Spotlight on Comfort
A little TLC goes a long way when it comes to keeping an older pet comfortable. Consider the following minor lifestyle modifications that can help an aging pet’s life run more smoothly:
- A soft, supportive bed raised off the floor
- Elevated food and water bowls
- Easy-access litter boxes
- Pet ramps and stairs
- Non-slip mats in high traffic areas
It’s important to keep in mind that older pets are more sensitive to the effects of humidity and temperature changes. Always monitor your pet while outdoors, and keep them indoors during very warm or cold days.
Sweet Super Seniors
We adore our super senior patients here at Highway Veterinary Hospital, and we want to help them live long and happy lives! Please let us know if you have any questions or if there’s anything we can do to support you as you navigate life with an older pet.