Welcome to Part 2 of “Help Your Pet Age Gracefully During Their Golden Years” where we have senior pet tips about Nutrition, Coat and Skin, Teeth and Gums, Mental Health and Senior Health Issues.
Obesity can worsen other aging problems. A high quality diet made from lean, whole meat-based ingredients is best. Avoid low-end foods filled with grains and carbohydrates, these can put on weight and may exacerbate other health problems. A veterinarian can help you choose the right food for your senior based on his current condition and test results. All cats, especially older ones, benefit from eating a high quality canned food because its higher water content helps flush the kidneys.
Older cats can lose their sense of smell, which may cut down their enthusiasm for eating. Heating the food in the microwave for 20 seconds can bring out the fragrance and make it more appealing.
COAT AND SKIN
Groom your older animal regularly, especially if he is not able to do it himself anymore. This will help prevent mats and keep his coat in good condition. It also gives you a chance to check for any lumps, sores or other potential problems that may need to be examined by a vet.
TEETH AND GUMS
All cats and dogs should have their teeth brushed daily throughout their lives. This is especially important as they age. Proper dental care prevents bacteria from entering through the gums and potentially causing organ damage. A high quality diet also helps prevent dental problems as animals age.
Mental exercise is just as important as physical activity. Besides learning new commands, senior dogs can benefit from going to training classes. Both cats and dogs enjoy puzzle toys. If your canine friend is alone for much of the day, doggie daycare can offer a fun and stimulating environment.
Animals give you many years of companionship and unconditional love. You can repay this devotion by minimizing the effects of aging and giving your older companion the best quality of life for as long as he’s with you.
SENIOR HEALTH ISSUES
Kidney disease, hypothyroidism, heart disease, arthritis, cancer and painful dental infections are the most common medical issues in older cats. Cats are also prone to certain cancers and may develop a thickened heart muscle. Elderly dogs suffer from most of the same problems. They also tend to get hypothyroidism, in which thyroid function decreases. Leaky heart valves are another common problem in older canines.
Many of these problems are treatable, especially if caught early. Be alert for physical behavioral changes. For example, stiffness going up and down stairs can signal arthritis, while acting “lost,” inappropriate vocalization, and not recognizing commands can indicate senility.
PLEASE watch for these important physical signs: weight loss, changes in appetite, increased thirst or urination, breathing problems, coughing, difficulty getting up, weakness, and an unpleasant mouth odor. Also be alert for behavioral changes like accidents in the house, changes in sleep patterns, abnormal vocalizing, irritability, unresponsiveness and staring off into space.
If you observe any of these signs in your dog or cat, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Even if you don’t notice any symptoms, it’s a good idea to have senior animals examined every six months.
Please watch Part 1 in Helping Your Pet Age Gracefully During Their Golden Years, if you missed it!
Look forward to connecting with you soon!
Intuitive Earth Angel