Special Care for Your Special Senior Pet

Cat Going Blind With CataractsWhether we like it or not, our pets grow older every minute. Even if a pet seems to be the same playful and energetic friend we’ve always known, the reality is that, after 6 or 7 years of age most dogs and cats are considered seniors.

Senior pets require extra care and attention to help them maintain a good quality of life. By understanding the changing health needs of your senior pet, you are better able to help your best pal to gracefully navigate his or her golden years.

Senior Pet Wellness

Because the risk of disease increases with age and many pets don’t readily show signs of illness, senior pets should be seen for a wellness exam at least twice per year. Regular veterinary care can prevent or prohibit the progression of age-related conditions, including:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Additionally, the extra wellness visits will allow your veterinarian to monitor your pet’s overall well-being, and enable you to receive recommendations regarding nutrition, mobility challenges, and other senior health concerns.

    Nutrition and Weight Management

    As they age, our pets’ nutritional needs change. Many senior pets benefit from:

  • Fewer calories
  • Higher levels of protein and/or fiber
  • Additional vitamins and minerals
  • A special diet tailored to a specific health issue
  • Your veterinarian will work with you to create a diet and nutrition plan to meet the needs of your pet.

    Exercise and Mobility

    Exercise is an important element of your senior pet’s overall health and well-being. Not only does exercise promote a healthy weight (many senior pets struggle with obesity and its associated problems), but daily movement can also help reduce pain associated with arthritis and other mobility issues.

    A 20-30 minute walk each day is a wonderful way to keep your senior active and healthy. Pay attention to his or her energy level and watch for signs of pain, fatigue, or discomfort. Senior pets are more susceptible to heat and cold, so take care to protect him or her from the elements.

    Dental Health

    Regardless of your pet’s age, good oral hygiene can add years to his or her life.
    Regular tooth brushing and veterinary dental care can help discourage tooth loss and periodontal disease. Berkeley Veterinary Center is proud to offer comprehensive pet dental care services, and we are happy to advise you on proper tooth brushing techniques and other aspects of home dental care for your senior pet.

    Keeping Your Senior Comfortable

    Many senior pets suffer from some degree of discomfort due to arthritis, and a little TLC goes a long way in decreasing your pet’s pain. Consider the following tips to help keep your pet active and improve his or her quality of life:

    • Provide your pet with a soft bed, raised off the floor. Orthopedic varieties are also available.
    • Keep food and water easily accessible, preferably in elevated bowls.
    • Use ramps and stairs as necessary.
    • Consult with your veterinarian about the many options available for managing chronic pain.

    Senior pets are living longer, healthier lives than ever before, thanks to modern veterinary medicine and good home care. Your team at Berkeley Veterinary Center is here to help you and your senior pet every step of the way, so please contact us with your questions or to set up an appointment.

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