Supporting Lifelong Health and Wellness
Whether you’re raising a new puppy or kitten or caring for an adult pet, maintaining optimal health and wellness is always our top priority. The same is true when it comes to our older patients, whose unique needs should be carefully considered.
While every animal is different, most cats and dogs are termed senior when they reach 6–7 years old. Common age-related conditions include:
- Dental disease
- Heart, liver, or kidney disease
To help prevent the onset of these and other conditions, we prioritize the following components of senior pet care:
- Early detection
- Lifestyle/environmental changes
- Maintaining mobility
- Mental health and awareness
At Minnetonka Animal Hospital, we recommend twice yearly exams for all senior pets. We also encourage more frequent diagnostic screenings to aid in early detection and prevention efforts. In general, it’s important to note any change in your senior pet, big or small. For example, if your cat or dog seems to be moving slower than usual, it may be an indication of pain, not simply aging. Certain medications also require biannual appointments to monitor blood work and health changes.
The Needs of Senior Pets
Just like humans, the needs of senior pets change over time. Diet and exercise is one area to pay close attention to as your pet ages. Weight gain can put a lot of strain on joints and increases the risk for diseases such as diabetes. On the other hand, drastic weight loss can also be a sign of a serious medical condition. Regular exercise and physical activity that’s ability-appropriate is also important.
To help your senior pet maintain a high quality of life, certain environmental or lifestyle changes may be necessary. For example, elevating food and water dishes or having a soft, high-quality bed, are small differences that can make a big impact for your pet. In general, aging pets are also highly susceptible to anxiety and stress, so it’s best to avoid loud noises and sudden disruptions.
Above all, keep showering your pet with love and attention. Regardless of age, we know how important the relationship you share with your pet can be and the special place he or she has in your family. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.