Over the past several decades, our understanding of the aging process and the needs of senior pets has improved dramatically thanks to veterinary studies and research. Combine this with the never-ending love and devotion of dedicated pet owners, and you’ve got a recipe for longer, more fulfilling lives for today’s pets.
Whether you adopted your pet as a puppy or kitten or welcomed an adult dog or cat into your home, sharing your life with a senior pet can be a deeply rewarding experience. Providing them with the best in senior pet care will help keep the bond between you as strong as ever and give them the wonderful golden years they deserve.
Understanding the Aging Process
Pets age much more rapidly than humans. In general, cats and small dogs are considered senior around age seven; it’s even earlier for larger dogs. Senior pets are at risk of developing many of the same problems that affect older humans, including:
- Heart disease
- Kidney/urinary tract disease
- Liver disease
- Dental disease
- Cognitive problems
- Vision or hearing loss
- Behavioral changes
Regular veterinary care is essential for the prompt diagnosis and treatment of age-related conditions. At Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, we recommend that senior pets come in at least twice a year for wellness checkups and lab work. Keeping track of any behavioral or physical changes can also be enormously helpful when it comes to recognizing problems early on.
Supportive Senior Pet Care
For the most part, all you really need is a little extra TLC when it comes to proper senior pet care. For example, consider the following areas:
- Nutrition – Older pets have different caloric needs than younger animals and often benefit from an increase in protein and certain vitamins and minerals. Certain dietary supplements and anti-aging nutrients may also help, and some senior pets may require a more easily digestible food.
- Weight – Keeping your senior pet at a healthy weight is key to preventing many age-related conditions.
- Mobility – Make regular, age-appropriate exercise a priority to keep senior pets healthier and happier and to decrease symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Dental health – Good dental care is important for pets of all ages and can add years to a pet’s life. Even if you haven’t given much thought to your pet’s dental care in the past, it’s never too late to start. We’re happy to discuss our comprehensive dental services, as well as at-home care techniques with you.
- Comfort – Because senior pets tend to be more sensitive to temperature and humidity extremes, keeping them comfortable has a big impact on overall health and vitality. Protect your senior pet from the elements by making sure they have plenty of shade and water when outdoors in the summer. During the winter, they should spend as much time as possible indoors.
The staff at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital is honored to help you care for the distinguished pet in your life. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about senior pet care!