Tips for Senior Pet Wellness with our Gainesville Veterinarian
Keeping your senior pet healthy requires a few minor changes from how he was cared for when he was younger. Fortunately, maintaining wellness in the absence of disease isn't hard for this age group – just different. Here are some things your veterinarian may recommend now that your pet is in his golden years:
Change to Senior Food
Dog and cat food meant for senior pets doesn't have as many calories as that meant for younger animals. This is because metabolism slows with age, so there is a risk of the animal becoming overweight if he stays on his regular food. By reducing the caloric load of a meal, senior food allows your pet to maintain his proper weight without feeling hungry.
Have Your Pet Tested for Age-Related Conditions
As pets age, they are more prone to getting diseases like diabetes, hypothyroidism, and other endocrine disorders. All it takes to test for these issues is a simple blood sample. A veterinarian in Gainesville should suggest these tests upon learning your pet's age, but if he doesn't, be sure to ask. Treatment for many age-related conditions is as easy as administering a pill, though, for diabetes, shots may be required.
Arthritis is another age-related condition that is quite common. Usually, NSAIDs and other non-narcotic painkillers are enough to control it. In fact, dogs respond well to some of the most popular natural anti-arthritis supplements, so they may not need many painkillers once the condition is under control. Cats typically need NSAIDS, and while supplements can help, their effect is typically not as prominent in this species.
Adjust Physical Expectations
While exercise is important for the aging pet, most will not be able to be as speedy or have the endurance they had when they were younger. Therefore, they should be cleared by the veterinarian before doing things like taking them with you for miles-long runs or engaging them in other prolonged, physically demanding activities. That said, there is no blanket recommendation for this – some animals can safely be highly active for their entire lives, while others will need to enjoy their golden years relaxing.
Contact Us Today
To get a checkup for your senior pet, just contact us here at Millhopper Veterinary Medical Hospital in Gainesville, FL. We'll be glad to give advice and testing appropriate for his or her age.