7 Tips to Maximize a Pet’s Golden Years

November 5, 2014 | Comments Off

I found this article that gives 7 great tips on how to maximize a pet’s golden years that I’d like to share with you!

Pets are living longer and healthier lives thanks to developments in veterinary care and dietary habits. However, that doesn’t change the fact that their health begins to decline in their senior years at around the ages of six or seven.

“Pets age at a much faster rate than humans. For every one human year, a pet ages seven,” says Dr. Mitsie Vargas a veterinarian based in Winter Haven, Florida. “When you think about that and put that into perspective, then you realize how important taking your pet for a checkup twice a year is… that is when a lot of situations can be found out earlier and treated cheaper and with a better outcomes,” added Vargas.

Follow these simple tips to ensure a pet’s senior years are also its golden years:

1 – Increase veterinary visits.
Senior pets should be taken to the veterinarian twice a year, instead of only once a year. Semi-annual visits allow veterinarians to detect and treat any signs of illness early. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA.org) has a few tips to make veterinary visits a little better for everyone. Click here for more.

2 – Look out for changes in behavior.
Before any medical symptoms appear, behavioral changes can provide signs that something is wrong. Examples of behavior changes include confusion, decreased interaction with humans, house soiling, changes in sleep cycles, and more.

3 – Watch for weight changes.
Dogs and cats face opposite weight-related problems in old age. Overweight older dogs are at increased risk of health problems. Weight loss is the chief cause for concern for felines.

4 – Consider modifying diet and nutrition.
As pets age, their dietary needs change. Senior pets may need easily digestible foods or foods with different calorie levels and ingredients that include anti-aging nutrients.

5 – Keep pets physically active.
Just as with older humans, it is very important to keep senior pets moving. Maintaining mobility through appropriate exercise will help keep them healthier.

6 – Play stimulating games.
Even pets can show signs of senility. Games (such as playing with food puzzle toys) that require time, patience, and problem-solving abilities will help keep pets mentally active.

7 – Be aware of pet health risks and symptoms.
Some pet breeds and lifestyles have increased risks associated with them. For instance, dogs and cats that have not been neutered or spayed have a higher risk of developing mammary, testicular, and prostate cancers. As pets get older, they develop many of the same illnesses that are present in humans such as cancer, heart disease, kidney and urinary tract diseases, diabetes, and even senility.

These seven tips will help maximize a pet’s senior years, but always check with veterinarians for specific guidelines on pet care.

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