From the age of 7 your pet’s health can change.Although your pet may still look and behave like a youngster, after their 7th birthday (or 5th birthday for large and giant breeds) cats and dogs enter their senior years. In human terms, it’s equivalent to entering your 50s. And just as our nutritional and physical needs change when we are seniors, your pet’s feeding and exercise routines also need to change.
Regular visits to your vet will help detect medical conditions that could become evident or more pronounced in old age. The earlier these diseases are detected, the better the chances of managing them successfully. Diseases such as cancer, diabetes and kidney disease are more common in senior pets.Conditions such as arthritis also occur much more frequently.
A nutritious and balanced diet is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle for all senior dogs and cats. Crucially, to maintain kidney and heart health, foods for senior pets need to have reduced levels of phosphorous and sodium.
Keeping senior pets happier and healthier for longer
- To aid digestion, feed several meals a day instead of one large serving.
- Keep your pet on a regular exercise routine to help preserve muscle tone and to keep bones and joints strong.
- Provide a comfortable, warm bed. Many older pets suffer from arthritis and muscle stiffness.
- Keep their bedding areas clean, and always remain proactive in controlling fleas, ticks and worms.
- Natural oils in the skin are reduced with age and can make your pet’s skin and coat dry and lustreless. Older cats often have difficulty grooming themselves.Brushing and grooming will help stimulate the skin to produce natural oils.
- Accidents may become a problem as bladder muscles weaken. Pay extra attention because your pet will need to be let outside more promptly and frequently.You might need to have an extra litter tray inside for your cat as an extra precaution.
In light of this, Anstead Vets is offering health checks for any dog or cat over the age of 7 years, or any large breed dog over the age of 5 years, as part of the Hill’s Senior Screening Programme.
These health checks aim to detect and treat diseases in the early stages. Early detection and the right nutrition are crucial to keep senior pets healthy and happy. Prevention is always better than cure.