As a pet ages, certain conditions and diseases may become a problem if they are predisposed, either through lifestyle or genetics. This is not to say that aging is a prescription for illness. Not by a long shot. By making sure you follow a good wellness program for your best friend, it can benefit them down the road and help to ward off disease.
How do you do this? This is where the team at Shiloh Mobile Veterinary Hospital come in! We’re here to explain the merits of senior pet wellness and what it entails, so that you can keep your furry, scaled, finned, or feathered friend in great shape for years to come.
Pet Health for Senior Dogs
If your pooch is past 7 years of age, they may be considered senior. Maybe you have noticed that your dog has slowed down a bit, or perhaps has had to deal with certain conditions that come with maturity. Or, you may not have noticed any changes to your pet’s health (great news) and want to know more about maintaining that good state of being.
There are several components to senior care for dogs. One of the fundamental elements of senior care is how you provide this in your daily routine. Nutrition plays a crucial role in senior dog care, and it may be wise to switch your pup to a diet formulated for their stage of life. Other areas of importance are maintaining a healthy weight and providing professional and at home dental care, which includes toothbrushing.
Senior pet health focuses on:
- Regular check-ups (once annually) with diagnostic testing (blood work, urinalysis)
- Exercise including daily walks of 20 minutes or more, or other exercises as recommended by your vet
- Dental exam and periodic cleaning, which is often necessary since most dogs over 3 have developed periodontal disease
- Increased brushing and grooming, as many pets begin to lose some of the oil and moisture on their skin and can develop skin problems and dryness without care
- Mobility support, should your pet have arthritis or other orthopedic issues
- Supplements as needed for encouraged health
These are only a few things your pet needs as they age, but most importantly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle at home with good nutrition and exercise will be a foundation for their future well rounded health.
Senior Wellness for Cats
Much like with canines, one of the first things to be addressed is diet. Finding the right diet suitable for your cat’s age is a great start to senior wellbeing. Your friend’s at Shiloh can help you out with this. Also, cats are prone to obesity as they get older. Add some interactive exercise for your furry one with a Cat Dancer, laser pointer, or other things that will elicit running, pouncing, and playing.
An indoor life needs to be met with mental enrichment like toys, but also window perches, cat trees, and scratching posts so your pet can exhibit their instinctual behaviors. Other forms of senior cat wellness include:
- Annual check-up and diagnostic testing (this may become twice annually, since cats often hide their signs of pain and disease)
- Dental care (learning to brush your cat’s teeth can help discourage dental disease)
- Kidney care (your cat may be switch to a prescription diet to help with kidney function)
- Nutrition formulated for senior wellness
- Exercise that includes interaction
Cats will need help getting the right exercise each day, based on their overall condition, and avoiding boredom and obesity. This is all within the power of a knowledgeable cat owner (like you).
Senior Care for Exotics
Caring for exotics requires the same level of wellness care, but there can be more complexity in the aging process. Many exotic, with the exception of tortoises and certain avian species, live shorter lives. So their development occurs more rapidly and changes can come on fast. Make note of any changes you notice, such as limping, weakness, lethargy, and weight loss and call us.
Some elements of exceptional senior care for exotics are:
- More frequent examinations (2-3 times a year) and diagnostics
- Older pets may require more warmth, particularly if they have arthritis, so climate control is very important
- Individualized nutritional support
- Keep your senior pet’s items, like a bed and bowls, easy to get to and at the right height for them
If you would like more information on providing senior pet health care for excellent quality and quantity of life, please call us! Our mobile clinic is here for you and your sweet companion.