Although your pet may stay forever young at heart, the reality is that certain changes should be expected as he or she ages. Senior pets require a little more TLC, including more frequent veterinary exams and adjustments to health essentials such as diet and exercise. With the right care and attention, you can ensure your senior pal will continue to enjoy a high quality of life.
The Basics of Senior Pet Care
Although each animal is different, a pet is generally considered senior at age 7. This doesn’t mean your pet will immediately start acting like a geriatric cat or dog, but many owners will begin seeing subtle differences around this time. In addition, physiological changes may be occurring that do not produce any noticeable signs.
That’s why we recommend twice yearly wellness exams for senior pets. More frequent exams allow us to address potential changes in your pet’s health, such as mobility limitations and dietary needs. They also prevent or prohibit the progression of age-related conditions, including:
- Heart disease
Your pet’s wellness exam also gives you the chance to ask questions about how to better care for your senior pet.
Support Wellbeing Through Daily Care
Along with scheduling regular wellness exams, you can help your pet stay healthy by focusing on the following elements of senior pet care.
Diet and nutrition – Seniors often require adjustments to their diet to meet changing nutritional needs and to promote anti-aging. Ask our team to learn more about specialty diets that can benefit your senior pet.
Weight management – The majority of pets are overweight or obese, which increases the risk of several diseases. To keep your older pet at his or her ideal weight, stick to correct meal portions, avoid treats (or use them sparingly), and offer gentle exercise each day.
Exercise – All pets, regardless of age, need to be active to stay healthy. However, for aging dogs and cats, exercises may need to be tailored to their abilities. Gentle, low-impact activities such as short walks, indoor games, or swimming are good choices.
Pain management – Chronic pain can really impact a pet’s quality of life. Consult your veterinarian about the many options available for managing chronic pain in senior pets.
Increased comfort – To help your pet sleep comfortably and move around with ease, keep all supplies and beds on one floor. Provide carpet for traction, and consider purchasing an orthopedic bed or adding extra layers to ease pressure on bones and joints.
Fortunately, senior pets are living longer, healthier lives thanks to advancements in veterinary medicine. By focusing on senior preventive wellness, you can do your part to keep your golden gal or guy feeling great.