Higher quality preventative health care, advances in veterinary medicine and better nutrition mean that our pets are healthier, living longer and having a higher quality of life than ever before.
Our pets mature and age 7-9 times faster than we do, and are considered seniors at 7 years old. Once they reach this age, it is important to have regular vet visits to allow any problems or illness to be identified and solved as early as possible to prevent them causing any serious harm. We recommend vet visits every 6 months for senior pets to monitor your pet’s health.
Your pet’s aging is a natural and irreversible process, and with it comes significant changes in their body and an increased need for care and attention. You may notice your pet has reached their senior stage of life by seeing grey around their muzzle, a less energetic/frisky attitude and/or trouble getting out of bed, but some changes are less subtle and may require a more watchful eye.
As your pet reaches senior age, it is recommended to see your vet for basic blood and urine tests as a starting point for measuring and monitoring future changes throughout this stage of their life, as many diseases accompanying age are easily preventable with regular testing and monitoring. Take note of and treat any changes in appearance or behavior immediately, as visiting your vet helps control potential problems early before they become a threat.
Take care of your senior pet by:
- Maintaining annual vaccinations – their immune systems may not be as strong as they age, and vaccination is important to prevent older pets succumbing to infectious disease
- Adjusting their diet to meet changing dietary requirements – antioxidants, Vitamin E and beta-carotene, reduced fat and joint support are important for senior pets
- Maintain their dental health – see your vet for a scale, polish or extraction if necessary, and provide your pet with bones. Prescription diets are available for the prevention of plaque build-up and dental disease
- Ensuring they receive light/moderate exercise to help with weight control and maintain muscle tone
- Having any observed lumps checked by your vet immediately – tumours are common in older pets and are difficult to define as malignant or harmless without further veterinary attention. Harmful tumours and cancers become less easily treatable the longer they are left, but can be successfully treated if acted on immediately when they are small
- Grooming your pet regularly, at least once a week, and checking for lumps, sores, parasites or discharge
- Seeing your vet for a general health profile – this blood test checks your pet’s status for anaemia, kidney disease, liver disease and other health problems associated with aging, and allows diseases and severe illness to be detected early
- Minimising stress by making sure their environment and routine are familiar
- Making sure they are as comfortable as possible in summer and winter – provide them with warm beds and keep their coats longer for extra comfort in winter, and trim their coat shorter to keep them cool in summer
- Giving them plenty of care and attention