We are all too familiar with that singular moment of disbelief when – for the first time – a pet starts to show signs of getting older. Since when did Fido shrug off a walk along the river? Was Fluffy’s face that grey (or white) just yesterday? While changes can certainly occur overnight, it’s more common for distinct age-related symptoms to surface over a period of time. Plus, many pets are hardwired to mask illness, keeping you in the dark as long as possible.
Pets are living longer today, thanks in part to modern advances in veterinary medicine, nutrition, and research. But perhaps just as critical is an owner’s proactive involvement in senior pet care that really lengthens – and possibly improve – an older pet’s life.
Been There Since The Beginning
Although lots of folks adopt adult and senior pets, many pet owners have been with a senior pet since his or her infancy. Thus, it can be difficult to start seeing a pet as “older”, especially since pets start to display signs of age as early as six years old. Like every other developmental milestone you’ve witnessed in your pet’s life, accepting and adjusting to the principles of senior pet care is one more important step on your pet’s path.
Talk About The Weather
Your senior pet’s welfare is tightly linked to changes in temperature and pressure. Due to numerous age-related problems, such as arthritis or kidney disease, your senior pet deserves extra care during the summer heat and the colder temperatures of winter. This could mean keeping him or her indoors throughout spells of extreme temperatures, and making sure access to comfy bedding and fresh water are never inhibited.
Know the signs that your pet needs medical attention, and keep our number handy for emergency care.
Basics Of Senior Pet Care
Senior pet care revolves around supporting the immune system. To this end, we advise two appointments per year in order to promptly address and treat illness, and monitor the development of common geriatric issues, such as cataracts, abdominal masses, and heart murmurs.
Nutritional needs change over time, and altering your pet’s diet to truly reflect decreasing activity levels can be a challenge at first. Appropriate food for your senior pet typically has less calories, fat, and protein, and increased fiber. Also, be on the lookout for symptoms related to hearing loss, vision loss, dental care, lumps and bumps under the skin, incontinence, depression, or senility.
We recommend jotting down observations of any changes in a journal or on your phone. This will help you understand new patterns or changes in routine that may lead to a new course of care or treatment.
Senior pet care is a valuable and meaningful endeavor, and we strive to help you understand your pet’s aging process and changing needs. The most important things you can do for your aging pet include keeping him or her comfortable, safe, healthy, and loved.
Please contact us with any senior pet care questions or concerns; we always look forward to helping you and your pet.