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Like older people, older pets have special needs that must be addressed in order to remain healthy. Knowing how to care for senior pets can improve their quality of life and extend their lifespan. These tips will help you keep your older pet happy and in good shape.

Dietary Needs

As pets age, their metabolism begins to slow. Unhealthy weight—whether that’s a weight below or above the ideal weight—is a common problem in older domesticated animals. This can cause older pets to be more susceptible to diseases like cancers, diabetes and other ailments. Proper diet can help pet owners manage their pet’s weight. Many commercial pet food brands have a special formula for older pets, to meet their nutritional and fat requirements. Speak with your veterinarian to find out which brands and formulas are appropriate for your pet.

Veterinary Services

Once a pet reaches a certain age, the likelihood of contracting a chronic disease or developing a painful condition can increase. Prevention and early diagnosis can extend the life of your pet. This is why many veterinarians recommend an increase in veterinarian visits once a pet gets older. It’s important to bring your pet to all regularly scheduled vet appointments, even if your pet seems healthy. Veterinarians know what to look for, and may be able to spot health problems that you aren’t able to identify.

Common Health Ailments

Geriatric pets suffer from many common health ailments. Familiarizing yourself with these health ailments and their symptoms may help you catch one of these problems before they become unmanageable.

  • Cancer. Symptoms of cancer may include weight loss, disinterest in food, lack of energy, unexplained bleeding.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes in animals is similar to diabetes in humans. Animals with diabetes may urinate frequently, drink lots of water and experience a change in weight.
  • Arthritis. Animals with arthritis may become less physically active, develop a limp or hesitate to jump or climb stairs.

In many cases, these ailments are treatable with medications, surgeries, special diet and other therapies. Should your pet contract one of these diseases, seek proper care from a vet immediately.

Activity

Geriatric pets need regular physical activity just like younger pets, but some animals may need to have their activities altered as they begin to experience problems like joint pain and diabetes. The ways in which your pet’s physical activity will change will vary depending on the health of your pet, so speak with your pet’s veterinarian to adjust your pet’s activity to the right levels.

Perhaps the most important part of senior pet care is ensure that the pet receives regular veterinary care. Watch for changes as your pet ages, and talk to your pet’s vet about any symptoms you find concerning. For veterinarians in Winnipeg, contact Southglen Veterinarian Hospital. Our experienced staff knows how to care for senior pets.