National Senior Pet Month
Do you have a senior pet in your life? November is National Senior Pet month and a time to celebrate all our senior pets. Our Tampa Bay veterinarian wants owners to understand our aging companions need special care and has compiled a few helpful tips below to help both owner and pet manage through the golden years.
- Schedule regular visits: Your senior pet needs to be examined twice a year, along with yearly bloodwork. Although they may appear physically healthy hidden diseases such as kidney and liver complications can be caught and treated before causing major health concerns if detected early.
- Monitoring Weight: Maintaining a weight is important for any pet. However, it is crucial to determine if your senior pet is overweight or underweight. Conditions of the thyroid gland such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are commonly found in our senior pets. This can lead to weight fluctuations amongst other health related issues. Obesity can also lead to decreased activity and increased arthritis pain.
- Maintaining a Healthy Diet: Many pet foods are developed for all life stages which for our seniors can mean certain ingredients may or may not be needed. For example, they do not require the same levels of protein as younger pets. A well-balanced senior diet is always recommended. Choosing the appropriate food based on your senior pet’s need can be a struggle. Our veterinarian suggests brands such as Purina, Science Diet, Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo, or Iams. Prescription diets may be indicated for your pet if they have a chronic condition. These diets are formulated for kidney, liver, diabetes, and gastrointestinal issues to name a few.
- Early Detection is Key: We discussed hypothyroid and hyperthyroid pet’s above, along with prescription diets for certain diseases. How does your veterinarian determine these needs? By performing annual bloodwork to detect any signs of illness before they create a problem. Bloodwork can aid in an early diagnosis of many conditions including, kidney and liver disease. Early detection equals early treatment options, better disease management, and cures.
- Special needs for special pets: Pets with arthritis might require a softer bedding. Ramps are great accommodations to get on and off furniture or in and out of the car. Senior cats may eliminate in inappropriate places due to arthritis pain. Creating a special litterbox with a lower threshold will allow them easier access. Also providing rugs and runner over hard-surfaces will help with traction allowing for more stability. Your pet will greatly thank you for making mobility easier.
In closing, senior pets require more attention during their golden years. Many consider it like having a puppy again, but without the hyperactivity and destruction. As we celebrate National Senior Pet month, we want to ensure your senior pet is taken care. Feel free to call our office at 813-501-4985, and our staff will be delighted to answer any questions or concerns regarding your aging furry family member.