Caring for a Senior Pet

As your pets approach their senior years, you may notice subtle changes in their behaviour – a slower gait, less desire to play, or just a gradual decrease in energy.  Age can weaken the immune system and increase an animal’s vulnerability to many of the same health problem that plague older people, such as arthritis, diabetes, dental problems, cancer and loss of hearing and vision.

Most diseases associated with old age can be treated and controlled.  That’s why it is important to take your senior pet in for annual physical exams.  We may suggest taking a blood and urine sample to check various physical functions, like kidneys or thyroid.  In younger pets this isn’t done regularly but it is very important for older pets.  Dramatic advances in veterinary medicine, along with healthier diets, neutering and keeping pets indoors , have all contributed to pets living longer and healthier lives.

As your pet ages you will need to be more attentive to your old friend.  Be aware that your pet may no longer be able to jump onto places where he had before, so he made need his dishes and bedding moved to lower surfaces.  Soft warm bedding can help to alleviate minor pain for aching old bones.  If needed, there are many medications now available to help keep some of those aches and pains at bay.  If considering long term pain control it is wise to check blood values to ensure the organs that metabolize the drug are able to handle it.

While time may slow your pet down, the bond you have with your furry friend will continue to deepen with age.  With proper nutrition, regular exercise and attentive care there’s no reason your pets golden years can’t be their best years.

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