Senior Pets, Gray Looks Good on You
As our pets get older we need to modify how we take care of them at home as well as at the veterinary office. Making small changes to a senior pets’ lifestyle can make them happier, healthier and potentially increase their lifespan.
At Mass Ave Animal Clinic and Fountain Square Animal Clinic, we consider a senior pet to be any dog or cat over the age of seven years old. At this age, your pet may not act like a senior or have any outwardly changes to the owner, but this is the time where we start increasing the frequency of certain standard care services they are receiving at our clinics. At home, there are certain changes that should be made in regards to their diet, joint and mental health, and weight management.
Changes in veterinary visits:
- Increase in number of visits per year – we recommend bi-yearly, or every six month, visits to our clinics. This allows for earlier detection and treatment of disease or discomfort such as arthritis. Fluctuation in weight can also be easily tracked at these visits to make sure your pets isn’t gaining or losing too much weight.
- Yearly blood work screening – this allows organ functions to be monitored for any changes and subsequently earlier intervention of disease such as kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes
- Examining lumps and bumps – any new lumps, bumps or warts that have popped up should be inspected to determine if it is medically necessary to be removed or not
Things to do at home to promote senior pet health:
- Promoting good mobility and joint health – arthritis in older pets can cause them pain and discomfort, this is often made worse by being overweight
- Maintaining a healthy weight is important – as pets age, there is a decline in metabolic rate and activity which can result in reduced calorie requirements
- Changes in diet requirements – diets with a blend of antioxidants, fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides have all been shown to help with reducing joint inflammation and boosting brain processing
- Encouraging mental health – mental alertness may decrease with age, therefore an active, environmentally enriched life with new or rotating toys may keep pets mentally sharp
As pets enter a different life stage, it is important to realize that they require different care both at home and at the veterinary office. If you have questions about your senior pet or realize they are overdue for their bi-yearly examinations, please contact your veterinary office to schedule an appointment.