Senior Pet Health and Wellness
Owning a pet is such an incredibly fulfilling part of our lives. They truly become family members to everybody around them. Unfortunately, their lifespans are generally much shorter than ours, so the chances that you will see your pet grow old and their needs increase is something that you should plan for. Identifying needs of your pet in advance of their old age can help you to prepare for increased costs, time, and their needs. Having a plan in place can make your animal’s transition into their golden years easier.
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The age at which a pet is considered a senior varies by their species, size, and specific breed. Small breed cats and dogs are generally considered seniors when they are seven years old, while larger breeds reach this status at six years of age. Knowing when your animal is considered a senior can help you watch for some of the common issues seen in older pets.
Arthritis is commonly found in dogs and cats. Certain breeds of the animal may be more prone to these issues, but the size or past injuries can also play a role. In addition to joint pain, animals can also suffer from decreased vision, hearing, or an increase in the likelihood of diabetes. As pets continue to age, there are also concerns about kidney and liver function, and the presence of cancer.
Fortunately, as our pets get older, we do not have to simply wait for issues to arise before we change their routine. As pets age, their metabolism and typical activity levels are reduced. This means that they do not need as many calories. In addition to cutting back calories, pet owners should also look at foods that are higher in fiber to help with their digestive systems.
There are a number of different pet foods that offer a senior brand. If you are having a hard time finding the right food for your pet, call Bergen County Veterinary Center. Our talented staff can help you find the best food options for your pet’s specific needs.
Although pets may start to reduce their activity levels on their own, it does not mean that you should simply allow them to stop moving. Instead, encourage regular exercise that helps them to keep off additional pounds and keeps their joints moving. You can shorten the length of normal walks to help reduce their fatigue, but introducing new toys may also help to stimulate their activity. If you have a pet who is struggling more with joint pain, swimming is a great exercise option that has a very low impact on the joints.
Pets are more susceptible to a wide variety of issues as they age. This means that their regular office visits can become even more important. We suggest that your animal should be seen every six months. These regular checkups help to monitor your pet’s weight, muscle tone, and range of motion. Catching any issues early can help to reduce their discomfort and help to maintain their lifestyle as long as possible. Of course, if you notice any issues with your pet between visits, be sure to schedule an appointment right away.
One factor that many pet owners overlook is dental care. However, changes in dental health can have far-reaching ramifications for your animal. An unhealthy mouth can make eating uncomfortable and cause substantial weight loss or dehydration.
In addition, the mouth can also harbor harmful bacteria or infections that can be spread through the rest of the body. Make sure to keep your animal’s mouth clean by brushing their teeth or using toys that are specifically designed for their dental health.
Making sure that your pet has everything they need as they age is important to keep their quality of life high. If you have a senior pet, call Bergen County Veterinary Center in Waldwick, NJ today to schedule an appointment.