Today pets are living longer than ever before, due to improved technology, advanced research and nutritious diet. We, as owners, want our pets to remain in optimum health, and we can ensure that happens by making sure our pets get proper veterinarian care, lots of exercise and a diet that is filled with nutrients. We also need to be aware of the signs of aging so we can take help our pet achieve longevity.
As our pets bodies age, metabolism slows down and requires less calories to maintain optimum health. The slowing of the metabolism also means that your pet won’t have the energy that it once had. It may not run and play like it did in the prime of its life. Because your pet isn’t getting as much exercise, it is your responsibility to ensure that food intake is monitored so that no excess weight is gained.
Extra weight can shorten your pet’s life. Added pressure to joints and organs can make existing medical problems worse, or cause new problems. Nutrient requirements will differ and you may need to change to a food made especially for senior pets. There are hundreds available on today’s market and they are all produced to help aging animals maintain optimum health.
Arthritis is a common ailment in pets that are seniors. Many animals get hip dysplasia when they age. The joints become malformed or the lining of the joints may have developed abnormally. Dysplasia seems to be prominent in certain breeds. Alaskan malamute dogs often get dysplasia when they get older.
Onset of arthritis can be caused by different factors. Infection due to injuries or wear and tear can cause joints to become inflamed. Being overweight will aggravate arthritis. Symptoms are limping, tiring easily, slowness in getting up and a reluctance or refusal to climb stairs. If your pet displays these symptoms, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Anti inflammatory medications can be prescribed by your vet to treat arthritis in your pet. You may also want to change your pet’s environment to make it easier for it to eat, drink or use the litter box.
Many people believe that they can measure a dog’s age in human years by multiplying by seven. This is a definite myth. Dogs reach adolescence within the first few years of life. The aging process varies in individual dogs and breeds.
Symptoms of aging may include decreased activity, blindness, deafness, a change in temperament, and the loss of the sense of smell. Skin and coat problems are also common. Be sure to create a quiet and secure environment for aging dogs. Other symptoms can include unresponsiveness, frequent or uncontrollable urination, respiratory problems, increased drinking, bad breath and general stiffness.
Aging problems can benefit from supplements, but an assessment by your veterinarian is in order. It may be your pet has a deficiency of omega fatty acids, which are produced in the liver. Reduced enzyme activity can cause the production of this essential acid to drop. Supplements of omega fatty acids can improve skin and coat problems and promote growth of essential bacteria in the intestines while diminishing bacteria that is detrimental to your pet’s health. Antioxidants, Vitamin E, and betacarotene can increase function of the immune system in older pets.
Cats can live into their late teens, or early twenties. Symptoms of aging include decreased activity, increased sleeping, and a decreased tolerance for changes in their environment. They also become more sensitive to weather conditions, such as heat and cold. Dental pain can cause them to stop eating and they will have problems digesting food.
Geriatric cats usually respond well to a diet that is high in fiber, low in fat and calories, moderate in levels of phosphorous and protein as well as limited salt and vitamin supplements. Symptoms of illness can include weight loss, diarrhea, excessive meowing, frequent urination, bad breath, hyperactivity and drooling. Aging cats need a diet that is well balanced that contains essential amino acids and a supplement of Vitamin E. This will aid your pet’s immune system in fighting infection.
Regular examinations by your veterinarian should include blood tests, blood count, and a urinalysis. These things will tell him if your pet has anemia, vital infections, renal kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract infection or feline urologic syndrome.
As a pet owner, you have responsibilities to your pet. Regular veterinarian checkups including periodontal examinations should be conducted. Your pet should have a daily routine of feeding and exercise so that you are able to detect signs of deteriorating health. At the first sign of stiffness, pain or digestive disorders, be sure to have your pet checked. This will ensure that he is around to give you enjoyment for many years to come.
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