Pet Aging

As we age, it seems as though day to day tasks get a little more difficult, or it may be that we take two or three medications now, instead of just that daily once-a-day vitamin. Our bones ache a little more in the winter time and it takes us just a few seconds longer to get off of the sofa. Over the decades, modern medicine and technology has grown and transformed, aiding in our longevity. The same goes for our furry friends! They are living longer and living with medical conditions that may be managed by a pill, an environmental or lifestyle change, or a quick procedure. As their lifespan increases, we need to pay a little more attention and add a little extra care so they can live happily.

In order to promote longevity for your pet, adequate attention is needed for their health. This includes scheduling regular visits with your veterinarian in order to monitor any serious changes in their medical status, as well as receive information and recommendations for supplements or medications that may be important to add to your pet’s daily routine. The veterinarian can assess physical health such as weight, dental health, and their eyes/ears. Although it is important to be aware of your pet’s condition on a day to day basis, visiting a veterinarian will increase the chances of catching an issue early on.

As your pet ages, you may need to make environmental changes to your home, to prevent falls and to allow your pet to safely maneuver around without risk of injury or discomfort. A few tricks you can try within your house is moving the pet’s food to an area where it is easily accessible and well lit. You can also add a ramp or small set of steps to the side of your sofa or bed, if your pet is allowed to snuggle with you. This is a simple way to practice good spinal health and decrease risk to stress on the spinal column and other joints. Adding nonskid mats and area rugs to your home will allow your pet to easily stand up from a lying position on the floor and will decrease their risk for slipping, which could lead to stress on the joints or damage to ligaments/tendons.

Exercise is important for your pet at any age! But it becomes a more pressing issue if your pet has been diagnosed with heart disease or arthritis, which is common among geriatric pets. Daily exercise will allow your pet to stay at a healthy weight and will assist with joint integrity. Busy bowls and food puzzles are also good way to keep your pet occupied and help with their mind and body health. As well as keeping your pet active, enhance their diet with nutrient dense food and be sure to consult with your veterinarian in Philadelphia on the amount of food your furry friend should be eating daily, as well as if they should be supplemented to ensure your pet is getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals.