Senior Dog and Cat Care
In most circumstances, senior pets require additional medical and healthcare needs. We recommend biannual wellness exams and consultations to address these needs and keep our senior patients comfortable for as long as possible. Our hospital utilizes multiple modalities for the care of senior pets including specialized diagnostic testing (visit our Golden Age Physical page for specifics), therapeutic cold laser treatments, physical rehabilitation, nutritional supplements, and more. Based upon the needs of you and your pet, we create a personalized senior healthcare plan to keep your pet at their best during the golden years. To help us create the most beneficial plan, we recommend reviewing and filling out our Senior Pet Checklist prior to any senior pet exam and consultation. Below are some general suggestions for senior pet care corresponding to specific body systems.
- Massage – range of motion therapy.
- Non-slippery flooring.
- Ramps as needed.
- Easy access to areas of eating, sleeping and relief areas.
- Weight adjustment as recommended (see Weight Loss and Conditioning).
- Appropriate exercise (see Physical Rehabilitation).
- Easily digestible food – low protein, low sodium and high fiber- weight loss diets as needed.
- May need to change texture or odor of food.
- 2-3 meals per day – helps digestion.
- We are here to prescribe the best diet for your pet- keeping pets at their ideal weight can add 2 ½ to 3 years to their life.
- Treat and control periodontal disease – this can also add 2 ½ to 3 years to their life (see Periodontal Disease).
- Infections in the gums travel through the bloodstream to all internal organs causing life-shortening damages. Quality of life also suffers.
Hearing & Vision
- Pets adjust very well to these losses, but we need to keep them out of dangerous situations as these senses deteriorate.
- We need to rule out treatable causes of hearing and vision loss.
- Teach hand signals in case your pet’s hearing begins to fail.
- Teach verbal signals in case your pet’s vision begins to fail.
- Provide night lights for pets losing vision.
- Minimize any changes in their physical space if vision is deteriorating.
Haircoat & Skin
- Frequent brushing will remove dead hair, stimulate oil glands and alert you to the presence of lumps, bumps, sore areas, fleas and ticks.
- Supplementing your pet with Omega 3 and/or Omega 6 Fatty Acids (as conditions dictate) will improve skin and haircoat.
- Provide warmth, as their thermo-regulation center in their brains is less capable of maintaining normal body temperature.
- Regularly evaluate for cognitive disorder (“Pet Alzheimer’s” Disease).
- Consider new prescription Brain Food and/or Anipril as prescribed.
- Play interactive games with your pet to encourage mental alertness.
- Consider adding another family pet as a housemate.