Senior Pet Care
Senior Pet Care
As our pets grow older, like us, they change. Their physical and psychological health can begin to decline and, as pet owners, we need to plan for those changes and find out how best to help your senior pet live their lives happy and healthily.
Like us owners, many senior pets can start to experience aches and pains which may not always be immediately obvious on the outside. Sometimes you may see changes in their behaviour, energy levels and mobility, but these can be very gradual in onset and are often missed until they are more advanced. Sometimes, these aches and pains can be signs of more serious health concerns as well, so regular veterinary checks are very worthwhile.
So what is a Senior Pet?
If your pet is around 7 years old or older, then read on. Many authorities suggest that pets enter their senior years around the age of 7 years. This figure is a little arbitrary and some pets can show signs of ageing much earlier or much later, but it is a useful guideline.
Signs of Ageing
Changes in behaviour are often the first signs for pet owners that their pets are starting to age. Often, these behaviour changes are in response to other, less obvious, changes to their health such as the development of arthritis, loss of hearing or vision or the development of senile behaviours (also called cognitive function syndrome which is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans). If you have noticed any of the following behaviours, then it may be a sign that they need senior pet care:
- Decreased mobility
- Accidents indoors and other changes to elimination habits
- Changes in appetite and water consumption
- Changes to sleep patterns
- Unable to settle at night
- Changes in behaviour towards family and strangers
- Changes in hearing and vision
- Changes to favourite activities
- Changes to playing with toys
Looking After Your Senior Pet’s Health
As with us humans, as we start to show signs of ageing, we need to be proactive in how we manage those signs to make sure that we continue to enjoys full and active lives for many years to come. Our pets are exactly the same. Regular veterinary examinations can help to identify and address potentially serious health concerns before they escalate. They can also help us to manage other concerns of ageing such as diet, exercise and behaviour.
There’s lots you can do at home for your senior pet to help make their lives a little easier. Make sure they have a padded, orthopaedic bed with a soft cover to curl up onto to help ease the aches of arthritis.
Make sure you keep them active. Several short walks a day is much better than a single long one at keeping them mobile and the fresh air will do wonders for their mental health as well!
At AlphaPet, we love senior pets and know how to work with you to help give your pet the golden years they deserve. Pets belonging to our Pet Health Club, automatically receive bi-annual wellness examinations. Also, for those not in our PHC, for £15, we have screening Health Examinations with our qualified Veterinary Nurses. These SAGA (Small Animal Geriatric Assessment) Clinics are a great way to have your senior pet’s needs assessed professionally and if significant issues are identified, then you will be referred to a veterinary surgeon.
If you have any concerns about your senior pet, don’t hesitate to call us - we are always happy to help.