Getting older is something that we cannot avoid, and neither can our pets. While our own aging process is something that we automatically take into account, many of us negate to realize that our pets age much faster than we do. In fact, but the time your cat reaches two years old, she is technically an adult and by eight, she is classed as a senior pet. Similarly, every human year is around seven years of a dog’s life, meaning that an eight-year-old dog is actually the equivalent of a 56-year-old human. It is important to adapt the care that we give our pets to match their accelerated aging and this often means making changes much earlier than you might expect.
At Goose Creek Veterinary Hospital, we understand how aging affects your precious pets and we are committed to helping the senior pets in our care enjoy golden years that are as healthy, active and happy as possible. Here is what you need to know about senior pet care, including the senior pet services that we can offer at our state-of-the-art veterinary facility in Ashburn, VA.
Senior Pet Wellness Checks
One of the most important aspects of senior pet care is regular wellness checks. Our pet’s bodies change fairly rapidly as they age, and it is very valuable to be able to respond to these as quickly as possible to prevent any developing health problems from causing serious, irreversible damage to your pet’s wellbeing. It can also keep her from unnecessary pain and suffering and save you from expensive medical bills.
Most pets are recommended to have an annual wellness check, but as your pet gets older, you may find that you are asked to bring them in for monitoring every six months or more, particularly if she is diagnosed with a health problem. Wellness checks usually involve a number of elements including:
- A physical examination
- General observations of your pet’s temperature, weight, heart and respiratory rates, oxygen levels, etc
- Urine and fecal testing
- Thyroid testing as thyroid function diminishes with age
- Blood testing
Preventative Pet Care
In addition to regularly monitoring your senior pet’s health with wellness checks, it is equally as important to ensure that her preventative care is up to date. You are probably well used to taking her for annual vaccinations and giving her treatments to prevent problems such as fleas, ticks, and worms. Your pet’s risk of developing infectious diseases or viruses doesn’t diminish with age – far from it. In fact, if her immune system starts to deteriorate, she could be at even greater risk than before. Our veterinary team will be able to advise you which preventatives your pet needs and when they should be administered.
Our pet’s nutritional requirements change with age, and what may have been an appropriate diet for your furbaby as an adult may no longer be the most beneficial once she reaches her senior years. If she has been diagnosed with a health condition such as osteoarthritis or diabetes, she may require a special diet to keep her at optimal health and mobility. You will also need to take into consider her decreasing activity level as she ages, which means that she will require fewer calories to sustain her. If you end up overfeeding a senior pet, they will almost certainly put on weight and since obesity is a leading cause of many health problems, this is something that should be avoided at all costs.
Our experienced veterinarians will be able to give you advice as to what diet your senior pet would benefit from, including guidance on the type of food since many older pets with dental problems struggle to eat anything other than a soft diet, and how often she should be fed.
The above represents just a few of the services that we can offer at our veterinary offices in Ashburn, VA. If you would like to find out more about any aspect of senior pet care, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team who will be delighted to help you.