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Posted on 09-18-2015

Senior pets need a little more care than we think.

September is Senior Pet Month at
Chattahoochee Animal Clinic.
 
We believe that prevention and proper diagnostics  
help enhance and prolong your fur kids life.  
As pets age, their needs differ from younger fur kids, similar to humans.
Senior cats & dogs are in the stage of life in which the aging process is
affecting their organs, skeletal and neurological systems. Unlike humans,
they cannot express pain or other abnormalities. This is why the
veterinary - pet parent relationship is so important. Most underlying issues
are difficult to detect just on examination. This is one of the many reasons we recommend bi-yearly visits, which
should include some or all of the following; a full comprehensive nose to tail examination, dental assessment, body condition evaluation,
organ function screen, chest or abdominal radiographs, electrocardiogram, eye tonometry and blood pressure. This will
ultimately give us a full picture of how our system is functioning.

Five things to keep in mind when caring for your senior pet

Feed Your Dog a Nutritious Diet

Good nutrition is important at every age, but especially with senior pets, whose nutritional needs change drastically compared to a young active pet. As we all know the older we get the slower our metabolism gets. Pets activity level changes and the bodies nutritional requirements change. We always recommend discussing the current diet with your veterinarian in order to provide for all your senior pets needs.

Help Your Dog Get Enough Exercise

Your dog may be slowing down but that doesn’t mean he should spend his days curled up on the couch. Exercise is critical to keeping your dog healthy, both physically and mentally. Your dog may not be able to go on long hikes with you but shorter, less strenuous walks will keep him feeling good. Swimming is another wonderful exercise...it's easy on their joints which can give arthritic pets some pain relief. In addition, we all could use a little extra exercise in our lives which makes this a win win.

Keep Your Dog at a Healthy Weight

Extra pounds on older dogs means more stress on their body, including joints and internal organs. During your veterinary visits, you vet should be performing a body condition assessment, which will help both of you come up with a plan for weight loss.

Schedule Regular Check Ups

A lot can happen in between vet visits. We recommend senior pets see their vets at least every six months for a check up. Many diseases and health issues, if caught early enough, can be treated.

Don’t Neglect Your Dog’s Teeth

Regular dental care is important throughout your pet’s life but especially for seniors. Did you know that dental disease can cause abnormalities in organ function? The report explains how tartar build up can cause gingivitis, which can cause bacteria to get into the bloodstream, wreaking havoc on your dog’s organs.

A great way to contribute to your senior dog’s good health is to keep his teeth and gums in tip top shape with regular at-home brushing and yearly professional cleanings by your vet.

As they age, our dogs need our care and attention even more. It’s up to us to monitor their health and take measures to keep our pets as healthy and happy as possible in their senior years.

Long and short...lets keep the veterinarian - pet parent relationship healthy, so as a team, we can help give the best care for your senior pet.

Until next time...

Dr Marcus Smith

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