Senior Pet Care: Compassion and Vigilance

Senior pet care is different than regular pet wellnessThanks to advancements in veterinary medicine, our pets are living longer and healthier lives. Sadly, however, our pets aren’t likely to outlive us altogether. Fortunately, by working together, we can help our pets age as gracefully as possible while maintaining a high quality of life. Although the way forward isn’t always easy or without complications, you can count on our team to provide you with complete and compassionate senior pet care.

Senior Pet Care

It’s easy to forget that by the age of 7, many pets are considered senior. Animals age much faster than humans, so depending on your pet’s species, breed, and genetics, it’s a good idea to increase the frequency of wellness exams once they enter the golden years. From age 1 to 6, we recommend annual appointments. Beginning at age 7, we’d like to see your pet 2 to 3 times a year.

Early Detection of Disease

In addition to maintaining a healthy weight through appropriate diet and exercise, preventive care exams allow us to find emerging diseases and conditions before they become advanced. This means we can treat problems more quickly, resulting in better outcomes and less pain and discomfort for your pet. Oftentimes, early treatment is also less expensive, less time consuming, and less stressful.

Early detection methods include blood work, urinalysis, blood pressure testing, dental evaluation, and parasite screening tests. Even when nothing is wrong with your pet, having a baseline of normal values can be invaluable when comparing them to future results. Sometimes, though, pet owners are surprised by a diagnosis. Pets (especially cats!) are masters at hiding pain and disease, so it’s important to perform these tests on a regular basis, even on seemingly healthy pets.

Aging Pets

The old adage “age is not a disease” can be applied to both humans and our pets. With regular and thoughtful senior pet care, older animals can lead healthy lives. At the same time, it’s important to be able to recognize signs of disease in an aging pet. Common conditions among senior pets include:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Dental disease
  • Heart, liver, or kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Lumps or bumps
  • Vision or hearing loss

Watching your pet age can be difficult. If you notice any of the following signs, please call us or schedule an appointment so we can get to the root of the problem:

  • Recurrent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Changes in weight
  • Bloody stool
  • Incontinence
  • Increased drinking/urination
  • Drooling
  • Bad breath
  • Respiratory issues
  • Mobility problems
  • Brittle coat/dry skin

Creature Comforts for Senior Pets

Adding some comforts to your home for your senior pet can increase their confidence, mobility, and well-being. Warm and comfortable beds, ramps, and easy access to necessities like food, water, and litter boxes can greatly improve your senior pet’s quality of life. When it’s easier for them to move around and get to what they need, your senior pet will be more content.

We’re your partners in compassionate senior pet care, so please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns. The team at Ten West Bird and Animal Hospital is always here to help!