Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tips for helping your older pet live a full and happy life

Here's old dog Indy after her work out in the rain.
While I am here dealing with taking care of two geriatric dogs, I thought I might do some reading up on the subject (not that I’ll ever get OLD!). I found this via BlogPaws from the American Veterinary Medical Association:

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.

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

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 ( has a few tips to make veterinary visits a little better for everyone click HERE for more.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 
Here I am playing ball with Indy

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.

I learned something, didn’t you? I realized all the exercising I do with these elderly dogs is a good thing. And, the games we play are stimulating for them. I’ll have to talk to them about all the lying around they do between playtimes though! Meanwhile, I’d better get busy with my online Luminosity training so I don’t lose any of MY brain power!

Love, Cinnamon

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Thanks for your comment. Love, Cinnamon