For many pet owners, watching our furry friends grow older is comforting, and a rewarding experience. It’s difficult to comprehend that same ball of energy running around the backyard all those years ago is now a relaxed and kind companion curled up at our feet. When your old friend starts to wind down, and puts on a little weight or begins to stiffen up, they need your help and compassion. Unlike us, your pet can’t take ownership of its care. They rely on you!
How does ageing affect older pets?
As your old companion gets older two kinds of changes will occur. Firstly will be age-related changes like loss of hearing, vision impairment and reduced activity. These changes are completely normal and aren’t preventable. The second are pathological changes or diseases like heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease and dental disease. To some extent, these can be preventable or managed successfully
Maintain a healthy approach
The health care your pet receives during their lifetime helps to prevent and minimise any disease whilst aging. Proper veterinary care incorporates preventative health and dental care, exercise, a balanced diet and routine veterinary check-ups. Below we have listed the care we recommend during this season with your beloved pet:
Yearly vaccination booster
This safeguards your pet from serious and potentially fatal diseases.
Parasite control all year round including:
Regular intestinal deworming
Tick & flea control
All-in-one products such as NexGard Spectra
make it easy and affordable to keep your pet up to date with their parasite prevention.
Your pet needs to be active at least once each day. This enhances their circulation, maintains muscle tone, and helps to prevent obesity in your pet.
Regular cleaning and dental care during your pet’s life will help to prevent tooth loss, a build-up of tartar, periodontal disease and mouth odour. However, if dental issues are left untreated, they can result in the spread of bacteria to other areas of the body.
Pets aren’t able to tell us when they are feeling unwell, so regular check-ups at least twice a year are crucial for an aging pet. The risk of disease increases with age therefore early detection is the key to prevention.
Nutrition – healthy balanced eating
Both cats and dogs develop noticeable changes in their ability to digest and absorb nutrients as they age. They can also experience a reduced ability to tolerate nutrient excesses and deficiencies. A properly formulated diet has a significant impact on your older pet’s health.
Seniors check-ups include
Peace of mind
This is your opportunity to tell your vet of any physical or behavioural changes you’ve noticed in your pet.
Hands on physical examination
Your vet will feel your pet’s musculoskeletal system, abdomen, head and neck areas for any abnormalities. Using a stethoscope they will listen to your pet’s heart and lungs. Your pet’s eyes, ears, and mouth will then be checked to look for any age-related issues, like cataracts, dental problems, and ear canal disorders.
We can perform sensitive tests on your pet’s blood and urine to check the inner workings of your pet, which are a useful key for early disease prevention.
Be aware of these early warning signs
Changes in appetite
Weight loss/weight gain
Difficulty rising, walking or climbing stairs
Confusion or disorientation
Lumps or bumps
Bad breath, plaque or bleeding gums
Diarrhoea or vomiting
Changes in sleep patterns
Ear odours, redness, scratching, or head shaking
Excessive drinking and/or urination
It’s normal to just assume that these symptoms are a ‘normal’ part of aging, however, these symptoms can often point to underlying age-related disease. If you notice any of these symptoms please contact us so we can discuss how to move forward with managing a comfortable transition into your pet’s senior years.