Just like people, our pets often begin to experience some health complications as they age. A ten-year-old cat is about 63 in “human years”, while a dog becomes a senior at around eight to twelve years (depending upon the breed). You can help support him or her by taking the following steps…
Continue to offer exercise opportunities. Daily exercise will keep your dog or cat mobile and healthy, and of course ward off weight problems. Take dogs out for a daily walk, but let them set the pace as they grow older. He or she might not feel up to lengthy excursions anymore, but it all depends on the dog and their level of health.
Create a comfortable home. Senior pets often need a few extra “accommodations”. For cats, a litter box with lower sides can allow for easier access. Dogs appreciate a soft, comfortable bed when they begin to experience aches and pains. Both cats and dogs benefit from raised water bowls, and you might wish to install ramps if climbing the stairs becomes a problem.
Take care of their dental health. Brush your pet’s teeth frequently, and bring them in for regular teeth and gum cleanings. A pet’s teeth can become more prone to infection or damage as they age, and a sore tooth can lead to appetite problems and health complications.
Provide the right nutrition. An overweight pet will face greater health challenges, and a pet’s nutritional needs change as they age. Let’s discuss your pet’s food options at your next appointment.
Be sensitive to their needs. Older pets often develop sensory sensitivities. Sudden, loud noises can be extra troublesome. Young children, or rambunctious new puppies or kittens, can feel overwhelming as well. Exercise caution when introducing new personalities to the household.
And of course, continue to bring your pet to see us for regular check-ups. Semi-annual or annual check-ups (depending upon breed and your pet’s needs) are more important now than ever, along with the appropriate lab work. Certain blood tests can help us monitor the development of age-related conditions, and helps us determine how well your pet is responding to medications. We will also answer your concerns and help you keep your pet happy and healthy well into their golden years.