Caring for your aging petMarch 3, 2017
Over time, your pet’s needs will change. Younger pets, for example, have a lot of energy and need plenty of exercise. As your pet gets older, however, your focus will shift from play to health. While every pet ages differently, there are some things you should watch out for to ensure that your senior pet stays happy and healthy. Read on to learn more about these important concerns.
As pets age, they can experience many of the same health issues that humans experience as they get older. These health problems include cancer, diabetes, kidney/urinary tract disease, vision and hearing loss, and heart disease. To help your senior pet both avoid these ailments and treat these ailments, consider the following:
• Regular trips to the vet: frequent visits to the vet are essential in senior pet care. These visits can detect and treat illness early, improving your furry friend’s chance of recovery.
• Diet: senior pets require a different diet than younger pets. It’s important that your pet’s food is easy to digest, for example, and that it includes important supplements senior pet’s need.
• Staying active: while older pets would not be able to participate in vigorous physical activity, staying active and mobile is important to your pet’s health. Simple, short walks are a great way to do this.
• Weight control: age brings with it an increased risk of health problems for both weight gain and weight loss. Be sure to keep an eye on your pet’s weight and speak to your vet if you have any concerns.
Changes in behaviour can often be an indication that your pet’s health has changed due to medical reasons. These changes may not end up being a sign of physical illness, but they can instead be an indication of cognitive dysfunction. Cognitive dysfunction can be managed with the help of drugs and changes in diet.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the following behavioural changes in your senior pet, and speak to your vet right away to learn how to treat them:
- Increase in: aggressive behaviour, confusion, anxiety, reaction to sounds, vocalization, wandering, or irritability
- Decrease in: response to commands, or hygiene/grooming
- Changes in: appetite or thirst, sleep cycle, or bladder control
Older pets are susceptible to joint issues like arthritis, especially large pups. If your pet displays signs of joint pain, such as difficulty sitting or standing, or they’re hesitant to climb stairs, speak with your vet.
To help your senior pet with joint pain, you can do things at home to help alleviate their pain in addition to the medication from your vet. A healthy diet is very important, as in exercise for weight control. While it’s important that your pet remains active, they should only be as active as their body will allow. You can also purchase orthopaedic pet beds, install ramps to help your pet avoid stairs, and purchase or make a raised feeding platform.
Are you caring for a senior pet at home? What do you do to help ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments section below.