When our best friends come to us, often in the puppy or kitten stage, caring for them during their senior years seems a long way off. However, some breeds can reach the senior and geriatric stages in as few as five or six years, and each year that goes by considerably increases their age in human years.
Keeping your pet healthy throughout its lifetime helps improve longevity, quality of life, and happiness. Understanding the different life stages and the type of care recommended for each is important.
Here are four tips to consider when caring for your senior pet:
Your veterinarian is your partner and the best person to discuss care from year to year. During the senior stage, care will include a greater focus on dental care, regular blood work, specific checks for potential problems and diseases, and maintaining required and recommended vaccinations.
At least two wellness visits a year are recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) for pets in the senior and geriatric stages. The increase in the number of visits is an opportunity to address any health problems before they appear or reach an advanced stage. Older pets can experience the same health concerns as aging humans, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes and heart disease to name a few.
Nutritional requirements change as pets age. Nutrition during the senior years is formulated for easier digestion, fewer calories, and may include special anti-aging nutrients. Proper weight management helps avoid or manage health concerns associated with obesity.
Maintaining a level of exercise appropriate to your pet’s age and abilities supports good physical and mental health. If your pet is experiencing pain or limited mobility, talk to your veterinarian about a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Bedding & Special Needs
Aging often requires lifestyle changes to keep older pets safe and comfortable. When mobility and/or sight are an issue, then keeping your pet away from stairs and other hazards might be necessary. For pets with arthritis and stiff muscles, special bedding may be recommended.
At Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center, the comfort, activity level and happiness of all our guests are important. Older lodging guests often have special needs which our resort is prepared to manage. The Resort TLC package for senior pets offers:
• Orthopedic bedding – Dense foam bedding
• Two stretch and mobility breaks daily – Simple and ability-appropriate outdoor strolls with a staff member
• Unlimited administering of medications as needed – Veterinary staff available on site at Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care
• Special attention with a nightly bedtime story and gourmet treats
Call Holiday House Pet Resort & Doylestown Veterinary Hospital at 215-345-6960 for information and to set an appointment for lodging or veterinary care, including nutritional counseling and holistic therapies.