Just like us, animals change throughout their lives. As they get older, you may notice differences in their behaviours, likes and dislikes. Senior pets are also at an increased risk of some specific age-related diseases. At the Ark, we are dedicated to providing personalised veterinary senior pet care and tailor our treatments to address the issues affect your pet at every stage of their life. Being aware of these issues can help you keep your senior pet comfortable and happy as they age. This blog covers some of common illnesses affecting senior pets and what you can do to help them.
Common Health Issues in Senior Pets
Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is caused by wear and tear on your pet’s joints over time. This can cause your pet a lot of pain. It is more common in dogs, particularly large breeds, but can affect any senior pets. Some common signs that your pet may be suffering from arthritis include reluctance to go up and down the stairs and jumping in and out of the car. You may notice that they are moving more slowly than usual.
Luckily, there are a number of medications you can give your pet to help. This includes daily tablets, or injections which can be given more rarely. If your pet is overweight, losing weight may put less stress upon their joints and lessen the symptoms. If you notice your pet experiencing any of these symptoms, book an appointment at the Ark and we can help you come up with a plan to manage your pet’s joint health. Read more about senior pet care.
Weight Management and Diabetes with senior pets:
As your pet gets older, they often become less active and their metabolism slows down. As a consequence, they require less food, and often begin to put on weight. Especially if they continue to eat the same amount. If your pet is overweight, they are at an increased risk of many other diseases such as arthritis, increased risk of cancer as well as diabetes.
Diabetes occurs when your pet’s pancreas can no longer make insulin. Signs of diabetes include increased thirst and urination. It is important to recognise these symptoms as early as possible. Early treatment of diabetes can lead to remission of the disease, and your pet will no longer need insulin any more. Read More about our weightloss program.
Kidney disease occurs as your pet’s kidneys begin to wear out and filter their blood less effectively. Common symptoms of kidney disease include lack of appetite and weight loss as well as increased thirst and urination. Once diagnosed, there are a variety of ways to treat kidney disease, both through medication and
Dental disease is common in all pets, but older teeth are more likely to experience build-up of plaque. Plaque can cause swelling of the gums and make eating painful for your pet. You may notice that your pet has bad breath or becomes finicky with their food if they have dental disease. At the ark we provide free dental check-ups to assess your pet’s dental health and manage any dental problems to keep them pain free.
Hearing and Vision Problems:
Just like humans, with age, your pet’s hearing and vision become less acute. Whilst this is mainly unavoidable, there are some things you can do to help your pet manage these changes. If you notice your pet is less sensitive to loud noises, try and use visual cues to get their attention. Conversely, if they are less aware of their surroundings, they will rely on their hearing more to get around. Making sure your pet has a designated sleeping area that stays the same provides your pet with a constant environment to feel safe.
Winter has Come! Senior pet care is important!
Winter is the perfect time for hot chocolate and fluffy socks. Unfortunately the cold weather can be harder for senior pets, as it can aggravate the symptoms of arthritis. There are some things you can do in winter to keep your pet happy during this time:
- Keep up with the walks! Depending on your pet’s age and joint health, a small amount of exercise (without overdoing it) can improve circulation. It helps with weight loss and prevent muscle loss that is common as pets age. Your veterinarian can advise you on a good exercise regime for your pet
- Stay toasty! Make sure your pet has a warm and comfortable sleeping area that is away from drafts and is elevated off cold surfaces. If you have a short-haired breed or you notice your dog shivering, especially on walks, you can invest in a pet coat or jumper to keep them warm. However, it is important to make your that it is the right fit, and doesn’t restrict their movement
- Check up! If you notice that your pet’s symptoms have gotten worse, or new symptoms appear in colder weather, don’t hesitate and bring them in for an appointment at the Ark. They may require a change in medication, and a check-up is a good opportunity to make sure that they stay happy and healthy throughout the winter months.
At the ark, we offer a variety of options for health care in both senior dogs and cats that cover their changing nutritional, exercise and medical needs. Many age-related diseases are easiest to treat when diagnosed early. Book a senior pet consult today with one of our experienced nurses to assess your pet’s help and support them through this stage of their life. Call us at: 02-9416-1300