It seems that these days people are living to a ripe old age, we are healthier and more active for longer and, because of the advances in veterinary medicine our pets are too! So here are some tips on how you can help your pet get the most out of the golden years!
HOW OLD IS OLD?
We generally divide a pet’s life into four stages: paediatric, adult, senior and geriatric. Depending on the breed of animal the time the pet experiences these stages will vary. For example, large breed dogs tend to live a shorter life and are considered ‘senior’ at around 5-6 years of age, whereas smaller breeds are considered ‘senior ’between the ages of 7-8yres. For cats its around 7-11 years.
It is at this senior stage that the body begins to show the subtle signs of aging that often go undetected by the owner.
CHRONIC DISEASE AND THE HEALTH CHECK
At this senior stage of your pet’s life there are many underlying health issues, such as the kidney disease, heart disease and arthritis, that can be picked up by screening at a general health check. If your pet seems to be ‘slowing down’ or isn’t eating as well as he used to don’t just accept this as normal as it may be suffering from early arthritis or just need a good teeth clean!
Getting your senior dog or cat checked allows us to help your pet have the healthiest happiest old age possible.
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT!
Good nutrition is just as important for your senior pet as it is for your puppy.
As your pet ages you may find that it is no longer as active as it used to be. Studies have shown that the energy requirements of your pet decreases from 7 years onwards and it is often at this stage in your pet’s life that weight gain becomes a concern. Obesity is detrimental to your pet’s wellbeing at any life stage but as your pet ages, being overweight adds further stress to heart, lungs and arthritic joints. In its geriatric years (from about 13 years onwards) your pet may become underweight due to muscle loss and reduced digestibility of nutrients such as protein and fats.
Therefore, it is important to feed a diet that has been scientifically formulated to take into consideration the nutritional needs of your aging pet. Many diets are available that aid in the control of diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, thyroid deficiency and cognitive disorder to name but a few.
GIVE ME A SMILE!
One of the saddest things we see in practice is pets that are extremely loved but neglected because they are OLD! They no longer get groomed or bathed but …..
One of the worst areas of neglect that we see is your pets teeth!
Not all dogs and cats have dental problems but by the time they reach the senior years many do need a good tooth clean. Your dog or cat’s breath should not smell bad all the time! When the teeth are bad (such as in the picture above) and covered in tartar the mouth is full of bacteria which your pet’s immune system must try to combat on a daily basis. This does affect the wellbeing of your pet!
So next time your aging dog decides he doesn’t want to go for that run or your cat no longer wants to jump onto the kitchen counter book an appointment with your vet!