Special Care for your Senior Pets
With all the advances in veterinary treatment, your pet can live longer and enjoy a good quality of life even through his/her senior years Below are some useful tips on how you can help your pet:
Ensure your pet has a six monthly healthcheck. A simple blood test can check for a variety of conditions.
Keep a closer eye on your pet’s nails. Elderly pets can be less active and so can get very long, ingrowing nails which can be painful. Speak to your veterinary nurse about nail clipping.
If your cat has always been fed on a high surface, move the food bowl to floor level. Cats can get arthritis too and jumping up is painful!
Elderly dogs may need extra help getting in and out of the car so you may need to consider getting a ramp. If your dog is experiencing difficulties like this, you should also have your dog checked for arthritis as there is treatment available to make your dog much more comfortable.
Small dogs, in particular, might need a coat in the winter to help keep them warm when out for a walk.
Regularly groom elderly cats – if they become arthritic they may have trouble grooming themselves. Speak to your vet about arthritic treatment for cats.
Take elderly dogs on shorter walks. Especially in the summer, avoid going out during day when it is hot - morning/evenings are cooler. If you notice that your dog is panting/coughing on walks, get your dog checked by your vet as this could be a sign of heart trouble which can be treated.
Ask the staff at your local veterinary clinic for dietary advice. There are a variety of diets especially designed for elderly cats and dogs.
Keep an eye on your pet’s drinking habits, urinary output and eating habits – changes in any of these could be the sign of an underlying condition that requires treatment.
Do NOT stop annual vaccinations and regular flea and worm treatment - there is NO good reason to do so!
Weight loss is NOT a sign of "old age" - it could well be a sign of an underlying condition that requires treatment to prevent your pet from becoming very ill.
Senility - contact your vet as there are treatments available to you’re your pet.
If your old pet starts having "accidents" in the house do NOT discipline him/her(shout, rub nose in etc) as the cause is usually down to medical reasons/senility and added stress (ie being told off) which will just make situation worse. Contact your vet for advice.
MOST IMPORTANT - if your veterinary surgeon prescribes treatment for your pet for heart/kidneys/arthritis etc, these are usually treatments for life - not a one-off course of treatment. Regular checkups are essential and if you are at all concerned about any changes in your pet’s health, you should consult your vet immediately.