Health Tips for Your Elderly Pets

When is your cat, dog, or other companion animal considered a senior? There’s no single answer that applies to every pet, yet most consider the 7-9 year age range as the threshold. When following the idea that pets age seven years for every one year their owner’s age, a 7-9 year old pet is equivalent to a human who’s 49-63. Some pets show physical signs of aging earlier in life due to genetics, nutrition, environment, and disease, while others sail gracefully from adulthood into their elderly years with little to no noticeable decline. What is the secret to maintaining the health of your elderly pets? Healthy pets, regardless of age, rely on their owners’ efforts, the knowledge of their veterinarian, and (believe it or not) a little bit of good fortune.

Elderly Dogs - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Schedule Regular Vet Visits

Senior pets are prone to numerous medical maladies: periodontal disease, arthritis, cancer and ailments affecting the kidneys, liver, and endocrine system. Manifestations of these diseases can be subtle or only arise when severe and potentially irreversible changes have occurred. In managing such conditions, your elderly pet should have a physical exam performed by a veterinarian annually at the very least. Pets that have been diagnosed with one or more of these afflictions should be examined every 3-6 months, or more frequently if necessary. These exams may reveal problems would otherwise go unnoticed until it’s too late.

Address Health Concerns Immediately

If your pet shows signs of illness or if your vet discovers anything abnormal, you must vow to address the issue immediately, as delays can cost your pet dearly. Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases seen in pets of all ages but is especially common in elderly pets. Waiting to address periodontal disease only after damage is evident can severely compromise your pet’s health. Be proactive and take steps to prevent periodontal disease from occurring in the first place. Brush teeth on a daily basis and provide appropriate objects on which your pet can chew to reduce the plaque and tartar buildup.

Routine Diagnostic Testing Is Key

Although your pet’s medical history and a general physical exam can yield a tremendous amount of useful information, diagnostic testing offers a more accurate representation of your pet’s overall health. Blood, urine, and fecal testing, X-rays, ultrasound, and other methods help to best direct treatment more precisely. It is recommended that senior pets have baseline blood, urine, and fecal testing annually at the very least. The true value of diagnostic exams lies in early disease detection and treatment, as this provides your pet with the greatest possible benefits.

Ensure That Your Home Environment Is Pet Friendly

It may be easiest if you think of this as being similar to baby-proofing your house. As your youthful, energetic pets inevitably age, their ability to navigate through the home environment they once effortlessly romped through diminishes. Slippery tile and hardwood floors, steep stairs, raised sleeping quarters are especially hazardous to elderly pets. Enhance your home and yard environment to appropriately suit your aging pet and reduce the likelihood of preventable illness or injury.

It may seem like just yesterday when you brought your pet home for the very first time. You can remember them frolicking around the yard, full of energy and curious to explore the new surroundings. But as the years pass, you begin noticing an overall slowdown. You are your pet’s primary health advocate from beginning to end. The best way to ensure their health and happiness is to take an educated and proactive stance in promoting the best possible quality of life regardless of their age. We at 5 Points Animal Hospital understand that not all pets or pet owners are the same. We will work with you to develop a customized health and wellness plan to fit your budget and the lifestyle of your pet. Please contact us at (615) 750-2377 for all your pet health care needs.

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Health Tips for Your Elderly Pets

Come See Us!

5 Points Animal Hospital | 1103 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206 | Click to Call Us Now