Remember when your pet was young? There was so much to learn about their health and safety, time probably felt like it was racing by. As they grew up, all that frenetic energy subsided somewhat. Their behavior became more predictable and the ways they interacted mellowed out.
Pet ownership is a work in progress, and the goal posts move with every distinct life stage. Senior pets may not necessarily keep you on your toes, but they do have highly-specific needs. Together, we can support the pet aging process by promoting senior pet health, safety, comfort, and well-being.
A Customized Approach
Every senior pet is unique. Instead of a one-size fits all approach to senior pet care, it is crucial to develop an individual plan that reflects a pet’s breed, size/weight, medical history, and lifestyle.
Increased wellness exams, from once to twice a year, help us stay in front of any potential age-related issues. Early detection of health problems can lead to effective treatment. Left alone, many senior pet diseases can become too difficult, or too expensive, to treat successfully.
Senior Pet Nutrition
As pets age, they slow down a bit. If they continue to eat the same size portions they enjoyed when active, weight gain is a common result. Diabetes, thyroid issues, heart disease, and arthritis are associated with weight gain.
Senior pets can have trouble digesting the same foods as before. They may benefit from easily digestible food instead of the hard kibble they liked in adulthood. We can help you find the right food that provides key nutrients and minerals for senior pets.
Some senior pets stop eating because it hurts to chew hard food. Broken, cracked, missing teeth are signs of periodontal disease, a condition affecting the majority of senior pets. We check the teeth and gums at every wellness check. Because of the impact dental care has on the whole body, we suggest annual cleanings and exams.
Senior Pet Immunity
As pets age, they become vulnerable to many diseases. While some vaccinations are lifestyle-oriented, others continue to remain important throughout life, especially in a pet with a weakened or compromised immune system.
Keeping up parasite prevention is also important as senior pets start to lose the ability to fight off associated problems.
Mobility and Environmental Concerns
Arthritis is the most common condition affecting a senior pet’s mobility. Pain, swelling, and stiffness can make it difficult to move around, but movement can actually reduce symptoms. We can help you find nutritional supplements and medications that ease arthritis pain. Reducing drafts is key to their comfort, orthopedic bedding, and even safe heat sources can soothe pain.
Vision and hearing capabilities can diminish as pets age. This can cause distress and anxiety in pets, especially if they are bumping into things or falling. Limit hazards to their home environment by installing baby gates, ramps, grippy tape, and eating/drinking raised platforms.
Managing Senior Pet Health
We are here to help you meet the needs of your senior pet so you can keep living happily together for as long as possible. Please call us at (916) 726-2334 with any questions or concerns about managing senior pet health. Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital is always happy to help.