At about 6 years of age, many things inside your pet start to change, things that require the care you give your pet to change too!
Liver, kidneys, and other organs start to require specific levels of nutrients to stay healthy. Hip joints especially start to become painful. Teeth and gums that may have had tartar for a long time start to erode and become painful. A little extra weight can balloon into obesity when those sore hips reduce exercise levels.
If your dog or cat is 6 years old or older, we recommend the following:
A thorough annual physical exam. Our physical exams find many issues while they are still small and easy/less expensive to deal with. Remember that 6 months in your pet’s life is about like 3-4 years of a person’s life – don’t hesitate to have us examine your pet every 6 months if you feel he or she is experiencing changes.
Stay current on all vaccinations – older pet’s immune systems are not as strong so vaccinations become very important.
A high quality Senior diet.
An annual Senior Profile – a blood test that checks liver and kidney function, and checks for diabetes.
Pay special attention to those hips:
- Start Dr. Klein’s at-home strength and flexibility exercises at 6 years of age.
- At the first sign of rear end stiffness start PST therapy annually.
- At the first sign of rear end pain start pain relief medication like Phycox or Metacam.
Watch that weight – your pet’s ribs right behind the shoulder blade should be as easy to feel as the bones on the back of your hand.
- Exercise regularly – trotting is best (ask our staff why!).
- At the first sign of extra weight, switch to Prescription Diet W/D.
- If your dog is overweight and limiting food has not worked, a diet medication called Slentrol may be beneficial for us to prescribe. Sorry cats, Slentrol is for dogs only!
The senior years are some of the most satisfying times for a pet and owner. Owners may be faced with higher health expenses during these years. Pet insurance may be a tool for owners to consider to decrease the risk of unexpected health related expenses.