Your pet has been with you through it all. You survived adventures together (even if a few of your favorite pairs of shoes didn’t), comforted each other, and played together. As your furry or feathered friend gets older, proper senior pet care helps you be there for them when they need you most. Our team at Forsyth Veterinary Hospital wants to help you give your companion the best senior pet care possible during their golden years.
Senior pet care starts with proper disease prevention, including good nutrition, exercise, and annual testing. Here are our doctors’ recommendations on how to keep your senior pet happy, healthy, and full of life.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Most pet food brands have a senior pet care formula that provides nutrients to support healthy joints, skin, and eyesight. Giving your pet proper vitamins and minerals can help improve overall health and increase energy. Making sure he also stays at a healthy weight is critical. If your pet is too heavy or isn’t eating enough, this can lead to serious stress on the body that older animals may not be able to handle. As your companion ages, it’s natural that she may not have as much energy as she did when she was younger, but always encourage your pet to stay active. Talk to our doctors about how much exercise your pet needs at their age or what types of exercise are best suited for your senior pet.
Don’t Skip Annual Diagnostics
Senior pets should be screened annually for the most common diseases associated with old age. A blood panel can reveal early onset kidney and liver disease, diabetes, infection, and even cancer. Although we never want to imagine our pets getting sick, making sure they get care as soon as possible can help reduce, cure, or slow serious illnesses to ensure your pet stays with you as long as possible. If your pet experiences a sudden change in appetite or thirst, shows signs of weakness or pain, begins vomiting, or has diarrhea, make sure you seek our attention as soon as possible so we can rule out any underlying causes.
Help Your Pet Get Around
If your pet is having trouble getting around the house, consider getting a few mobility-friendly accessories such as step stools, stair ramps, or orthopedic pet beds. If your pet’s joints seem stiff, we can help you assess whether it’s arthritis or muscle loss, and what type of treatment may be necessary. Also consider giving your pet natural supplements to support mobility.
Keep Teeth Clean
As your pet ages, plaque and tarter can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Tooth loss can make it difficult for your pet to eat or maintain a healthy weight. Mouth diseases can also fester and cause bacterial infections that can weaken the immune system. Keep your pet’s mouth healthy with regular brushing and mouth cleaning treats. If dental health is a concern, our doctors can also recommend scaling or professional cleaning services to halt damage.
No matter what age your pet is, we know your fur family is a big part of your life. If you ever have questions about how best to assist your senior pet, don’t hesitate to give Forsyth Veterinary Hospital a call today at 336-765-1225.
Senior Pet Wellness FAQ
Our pets are part of our family and that means taking care of them through all stages of life. Senior pets require special attention and vet care. It is important to adapt your pet’s diet, exercise, and veterinarian care to meet his or her needs in advanced age. To learn more about how to properly care for your senior pet, the team at Forsyth Veterinary Hospital examines some frequently asked questions regarding senior pet wellness.
Chances are as our pet ages, he or she becomes less active. If a senior pet continues to eat the same diet, with the same amount of calories, through the senior years he or she runs the risk of becoming overweight. Obesity in senior cats and dogs can lead to other serious health problems including diabetes and joint disease. To help keep pets at a healthy weight, try using a food with fewer calories. For dogs, it can be helpful to add vegetables, such as green beans and carrots, to the food. Many vitamins like fish oil and glucosamine can easily be added to normal dog food to help keep joints healthy and pain free.
Just because our pets are older does not mean they do not require exercise anymore. The type of exercise should be adapted to meet the needs of our pets. Keep walks and play time limited to 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Often, pets with joint pain will enjoy low impact exercise more. Swimming is a great activity that not only helps keep pets active and fit, but reduces stress on the knee and elbow joints.
Wellness exams are even more important for pets as they age. Be sure to see your veterinarian at least once yearly to make sure your pet is in the best possible health. Include a regular dental exam as part of the wellness routine. As pets age their teeth can become brittle or damaged. Removing broken or diseased teeth will help to keep your pet healthier for longer. A dental exam is also a great time to remove any plaque or tarter that has built up over time. Your pet’s teeth and gums are a prime site for dangerous bacteria to enter the body and cause a slew of health concerns. By keeping up with regular wellness and dental exams you can guarantee a long and healthy life for your pet.
At Forsyth Veterinary Hospital we want to take care of your pet through all stages of life. Our expert veterinarian team is well versed in senior pet care. We provide a range of services including the best emergency veterinarian Winston-Salem has to offer. We are located at 2556 S. Stratford Rd., Winston-Salem, NC, 27103. To schedule an appointment please call our office at 336-765-1225 today.