Our cats and dogs are a lot more like us humans that we realise! As we all get older, we get slower, stiffer and more forgetful.
Unlike humans, our pets are considered ‘seniors’ after eight years. Around this time, you’ll need to start looking out for these typical signs of aging:
- Difficulty getting up after resting
- Slower or more hesitant to run and climb stairs
- Dental hygiene issues
- Changes in urination
- Changes in appetite
These symptoms can be related to the gradual onset of age-related illnesses like arthritis, kidney and liver disease, and dementia.
Taking care of your aging pet
In addition to your pet’s regular vet check-up, here’s how you can make sure your pet is happy, healthy, comfortable and pain-free for as long as possible.
Keeping your pet’s teeth and gums healthy will ward off many avoidable and painful health issues. The effects of dental neglect can lead to damaged jawbones, loss of teeth and gum disease.
Symptoms of tooth decay or gum disease include smelly breath, gingivitis, plaque, gum recession and tartar. If your pet’s teeth are discoloured, let us know.
You can avoid this by committing to annual dental check-ups at your local vet clinic as well as brushing your pet’s teeth daily, chew toys, special diets, dental chews, mouth rinses and food additives (to reduce plaque).
Managing your pet’s pain
Winter can be an especially difficult time for your elderly pet, particularly if they’re suffering from arthritis or any joint-related issues like hip dysplasia.
Around one in five dogs are affected by arthritis and the likelihood of your pet getting arthritis rises to 80% once they are over 8 years of age. Here are some ways you can manage your pet’s pain at home.
- Consider a weight loss diet and/or increasing gentle exercise (if overweight)
- Install ramps, stepping stools and grip surfaces like rubber matting/carpet in high transit pet areas to eliminate the challenge of stairs and steps
- Place food and water dishes in easily accessible areas that are a few inches off the ground
- Get a comfy, thick and soft bed to lie on, especially in winter
- NEVER give medication that’s not prescribed by a vet (including medication intended for humans) as it can be extremely toxic for pets
Senior nutritional needs
When our pet ages, their appetite and eating habits can change. As they become less mobile, their metabolism slows down and their chances of becoming obese increase.
What you can do at home:
- Introduce a lower calorie diet to prevent obesity
- Consider higher fibre diets to improve gastrointestinal health
It’s important to note that every pet is different, and their diet should reflect that. Consult your vet before making any dramatic changes to their diet and exercise routine.
If you’d like to discuss the changing needs of your more mature pet, speak to one of our nurses or vets by calling 4955 6670 or booking an appointment online.
Senior Pet Month Special
Throughout the month of July, Fletcher Vet will be providing pets eight years and older with a special consultation.
For $89 your pet will receive:
- A thorough health check with our vet Gin
- A blood and urine profile
- 10% off senior specific products
*Any additional tests recommended by the vet will come at an additional cost.
The consultation will give you a chance to ask our vets about any concerns you may have regarding mobility, dental health, organ diseases, lumps and bumps, and their general health.
The blood and urine test screens their vital organs for signs of disease, including kidney and liver disease.
The offer ends on 31 July. Call us on 4955 6670 or book your appointment online today!