Taking Care Of Your Senior Pet

When your dog or cat reaches eight years of age (giant breeds five years of age) your pet is entering the “senior years” of his/her life. While the aging process is not a disease in and of itself, the physiological changes that accompany aging may predispose a pet to one or more disease processes. Older animals are more likely to develop multiple health problems; and because of this, twice-a-year health visits are highly recommended for dogs once they reach eight years of age.

10 Steps Towards Senior Health

  1. Visit your veterinarian for a senior health care exam at least every six months to monitor your pet’s health.
  2. As your pet approaches senior status, we recommend basic bloodwork to serve as a baseline for measuring any future changes.
  3. Note changes in behavior or appearance and see your veterinarian. Get problems under control before they become major problems that require more extensive treatment.
  4. Switch to high-quality senior food that provides enhanced levels of key nutrients. If you have specific concerns or your pet has medical issues, nutritional counseling with a board-certified nutritionist can be arranged.
  5. Ask your veterinarian to check your dog’s teeth regularly and follow any recommendations, including daily brushing.
  6. Provide moderate exercise. This will help with weight control and keep muscles toned.
  7. Talk with your veterinarian if your dog or cat tires easily or has trouble breathing.
  8. Groom your pet at least once each week. Check for lumps, sores, parasites or discharge from the eyes, ears, and nose.
  9. Maintain a familiar routine and environment to minimize stress.
  10. If your pet has not been neutered or spayed, have your veterinarian examine the mammary glands or prostate gland.