Pet life expectancies have improved over the years due to advances in veterinary medicine, giving us longer to enjoy our beloved pets. As our companions age, their health care needs increase, rather than diminish. The following advice will help you continue to provide attentive care for your senior pets.
1. Continue to Provide Preventative Care! Older pets are still vulnerable to heartworms, intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks, and the various diseases that vaccines cover. In fact, they may be more prone to debilitating disease as their bodies and organs are not as strong as they once were. You have protected your pet for years! Don’t stop now!
2. Expect More! Being older is not an excuse for illness. It is the underlying disease process that makes the pet ill, not advancing years. Older pets are still entitled to vibrant lives. While arthritis and internal illnesses plague older pets, they can be very well managed with proper care. Annual or twice yearly physical exams and lab work can allow your veterinarian to identify and address disease processes that may be slowing down your pet. Don’t settle for less!
3. Watch Carefully! After years with your pet, you are well versed in their normal behaviors. If things change, do not hesitate to have your pet evaluated. Signs of weight loss, weakness, pain or increased respirations may be neon signs of disease! Older pets have a harder time regulating their body temperature so observe them carefully during extreme weather. Nutritional requirements often change as a pet advances in years so be attuned to your pet’s weight and body condition. Senior pets also have a more difficult time rebounding from dietary upset, so preventing access to inappropriate foodstuffs is wise.
With conscientious, committed owners and competent, compassionate veterinarians we can ensure your pet enjoys a healthy full life.