I know my pet is getting older. How do I help them stay happy and healthy for as long as possible?

Talk to your veterinarian about how to care for your older pet and be prepared for possible age-related health issues. Senior pets require increased attention, including more frequent visits to the veterinarian, possible changes in diet, and in some cases alterations to their home environment. Here are some basic considerations when caring for older pets:

Older Pet Care Considerations

Area of concern Description
Increased veterinary care Geriatric pets should have semi-annual veterinary visits instead of annual visits so signs of illness or other problems can be detected early and treated. Senior pet exams are similar to those for younger pets, but are more in depth, and may include dental care, possible bloodwork, and specific checks for physical signs of diseases that are more likey in older pets.
Diet and nutrition Geriatric pets often need foods that are more readily digested, and have different calorie levels and ingredients, and anti-aging nutrients
Weight control Weight gain in geriatric dogs increases the risk of health problems, whereas weight loss is a bigger concern for geriatric cats.
Parasite control Older pets’ immune systems are not as healthy as those of younger animals; as a result, they can’t fight off diseases or heal as fast as younger pets
Maintaining mobility As with older people, keeping older pets mobile through appropriate exercise helps keep them healthier and more mobile.
Vaccination Your pet’s vaccination needs may change with age. Talk to your veterinarian about a vaccination program for your geriatric pet.
Mental health Pets can show signs of senility. Stimulating them through interactions can help keep them mentally active. If any changes in your pet’s behavior are noticed, please consult your veterinarian.
Environmental considerations Older pets may need changes in their lifestyle, such as sleeping areas to avoid stairs, more time indoors, etc. Disabled pets have special needs which can be discussed with your veterinarian
Reproductive diseases Non-neutered/non-spayed geriatric pets are at higher risk of mammary, testicular, and prostate cancers.
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