Do you know how to best care for your senior pet? For that matter do you even know what senior means in the pet world?
September is National Senior Pet Health Month in the U.S. so this is a good time to stop and think about your pet’s age and relative health. How old is your pet? Most cats are considered mature at about age 7 and “senior” after age 10. With dogs the determination is a little more difficult and individualized. Larger dogs generally have shorter lives than smaller dogs and thus mature much sooner.
Dr. Bianca Zaffarano at Iowa State University’s Veterinary Clinical Sciences Department talks about this on the ISU website:
If your pet isn’t yet a senior you can still protect his future health today. Familiarize yourself with your pet’s normal health condition. Fix in your mind the following behavioral tells:
· Routine playtimes
· Favorite toys
· Favorite foods and amounts eaten
· Drinking habits
· Litterpan habits (bowel movement consistency, color and normal urine appearance)
Basically know your pet’s normal everything. At some point in your pet’s early adult life have your veterinarian run basic bloodwork in order to set a baseline for your pet. Any lab work run later will be compared to this baseline to determine if anything abnormal is going on. Also weigh your pet on a regular basis. If your pet’s weight changes drastically from month to month consult your veterinarian immediately.
This month talk to your veterinarian and ask what you should be doing for your senior pet. Make sure his diet is appropriate for his age and activity level. Watch his activities to be sure he isn’t suffering any pain from arthritis or other maladies.
Most importantly cherish this time with your senior pet. You’ve shared so many years with him, so many experiences, so many special moments – now is the time to sit back and truly appreciate them. Love those seniors but make sure they are living a happy life.
|Ozma and Zeit Geist|