Senior Pets – how can we help?
Traditional domestic pet such as cats and dogs are considered senior pets around seven years of age. Defining senior on just age is a general misconception as ageing is part of many different factors including environment, nutrition, species, breed, and genetics.
The place of Pets inside the family has also changed from being “just” the Pet, to being a “Family Member”. This results in better care levels & higher spending, allowing for changes in pet care in general. With advances in nutrition, care products, implementing preventative health care and more specialised veterinary care, pets are living longer in good health.
Currently, and very generalised, small breed dogs and cats are considered senior around 10 years old. Whereas larger breeds tend to age a bit faster starting around the age of 6 or 7 years old.
We have summed up below some typical ageing symptoms and advise on interventions that could help in making our senior pets have a comfortable and longer life.
Watch the weight,
As pets age they become less active due to stiff joints and exercise intolerance. Being overweight puts extra strain on joints and cause pain, resulting in unwillingness to move and even more weight gain. Our Vets are trained to score your pet’s body condition and advise you on a proper diet and other tips to control their weight and ensure their quality of life, leading to ageing gracefully.
Watch for signs of pain!
Is you pet sleeping a lot, grinding his/her teeth, grunting in his/her sleep and showing general signs of grumpiness? These can be signs of pain. There are many ways to support your pet. However, it is important to have them checked by your Vet to ensure the problems are addressed in a pro-active way after which pain medication, supplements and controlled exercise advice can be given ensuring your pet a peaceful old day.
Take care of their oral health
Ensure regular dental check-ups by checking their oral cavity regularly and asking your vet to double check for you when you visit your veterinarian. Accumulated dental tartar can lead to poor feeding and a high risk of metabolic diseases.
Monitor changes in behaviour:
Canine cognitive dysfunction usually is indicated by changes in behaviour, less responsiveness to affection, house soling, vocalising, pacing at night and slowness in response. Many of these symptoms can be controlled or even delayed by some small changes, special medication or supplements to their diet allowing you and your pet for more special time together.
With age, some of the body-organs start to slow down and get affected by diseases.
Monitor your pet’s food intake, urinating and defecating pattern, sleeping pattern and general appearance. Regularly check their weight and note down typical behaviour.
Monitoring for all above signs will help you recognise patterns. Your next visit to your Vet will be more informative leading to early detection of ongoing disease development. Senior Pets need more regular check-ups, so you and your Vet can ensure early detection of developing problems at a time when hopefully with some simple improvements, interventions or support you can ensure your pet’s life quality for a longer time.
With proper care, most of the signs of old age can be abated. Feeding a high-quality diet that is appropriate to your pet’s age and lifestyle, is beneficial in maintaining an ideal weight, aids in mobility and provides good dental health.
Regular check-ups at the vet, requesting a body score condition at each visit and an oral exam. Blood and urine tests further help define the organ function when symptoms occur that might point out problems are to be expected or to ensure nothing is missed.
Exercising your senior pets regularly will not only maintain a lean body but is also good for general well being. So more toys for cats and more physical and mental stimulation for the dogs.
Regular brushing for the cat and grooming for the dogs is also highly recommended, ensuring bonding, early pick up of health issues and good skin and coat condition.
Providing soft bedding especially for arthritic patients and also carpeting over hard surfaces (less slippery) to ensure better movement as this supports better joint lubrication due to more regular exercise and getting up.
Providing regular check ups, dental procedures, blood tests (geriatric blood profile) and preventative healthcare, will ensure peace of mind and that any diseases will be picked and treated earlier rather than later.
Consider supplementing your senior pet’s diet according to their needs, e.g., with fatty acids for arthritis and poor coat condition or some supplements to control cognitive dysfunction.
Remember, you can always contact us via email@example.com to check what should be the next step or to just take some of your worries away. We are here to help you and your Pet at any life stage!