As our pets enter their golden years, we may start to notice some changes. It could be small changes, such as white or grey hairs starting to show, moving a little slower on walks, or becoming more irritable than they used to be. While seemingly subtle, often these changes are your pet’s way of showing you that they are aging, and with increased age comes a higher likelihood of disease processes setting in.
Our pets become senior at the age of seven years, and it’s important that we consider how best to keep them comfortable as they age. Often with age comes an increased possibility of developing osteoarthritis – a very common condition that we see and treat in clinic. Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that is characterized by loss of the cartilage that covers and protects the bones in many joints within the body. In an ideal situation, we like to catch this condition early so we can slow down the progression of the disease with supplements that benefit the joints and slow cartilage degradation.
While osteoarthritis is a common condition that is seen in animals as they age, it’s important to see your Veterinarian routinely to assess your pet’s overall health and wellness. Catching any hidden illnesses early on is an integral part of your pet’s healthcare and in many instances, can extend the life of your pet.
Homecare for your senior pet is another great way to keep him or her active and healthy. As pets age, they tend to lose muscle mass, especially in their hind end. Regular exercise, and a healthy and balanced diet are essential to keep your pet at an optimal weight. Speak to your Vet about your individual pet’s diet, and how food can truly be their first medicine! A home based physiotherapy routine outlined by an animal Physiotherapist is another great option to improve strength and increase range of motion in the joints.
For the month of November, we are celebrating our Senior Pets! For more information, or to join us, please contact the Animal Care Centre of Strathmore at 403.901.1800. We look forward to helping you keep your pet active, happy and healthy throughout their senior years!