As our pets grow older there are a few extra things we should look out for to help prevent pain and improve their overall wellbeing. There are 3 main areas we get asked about all the time in our shop : Weight Issues, Dental Issues and Joint Issues. 

So what can you do to help care for your ageing dog or ageing cat....

Obviously there are other serious medical issues that can occur as our pets grow older.  Weight, dental care and joint care are three that as pet owners we can help to prevent and alleviate easily at home for our aging dogs and aging cats. 

So when is my dog or cat considered “old”?

Cats are seen to “Mature” or “Senior” from approx 8 years plus. Small and medium dogs are “Mature” from 7 years plus and Large to Giant Dogs anywhere from 5 years and up. 

So how can I help my older dog or cat?

Before even going into specifics the first thing to look at is diet. If you are feeding a quality, premium, dog or cat food you are half way there. If you have been feeding this quality diet from puppy and kitten age you are probably more than halfway there.  

Premium dry food diets are scientifically tested to provide the necessary nutrition for your pet.  Tested and measured raw food diets with all of the correct proportions and mix of ingredients are also shown to improve your pets overall health. 

# 1 - Weight Issues

Ok, so let’s look at issues with overweight dogs and overweight cats. If your Cat or Dog is overweight they are statistically likely to live a shorter, less healthy life.   As your pet ages their metabolism is likely to slow down. If they also have some joint pain or stiffness they are likely to exercise less also.

Many people are in denial about their pets weight. Alternatively many people do not realize their pet is overweight. As a society we are so used to seeing overweight pets we start to think of it as the norm.  If you cannot see a defined waist from above your pet and from the side of you pet and you cannot easily feel their ribs, they are most likely overweight! 

So how can you help your pet lose weight ? 

Easy :  Feed less, exercise more, change to a low calorie diet and stop feeding fatty, sugary treats!

There are many healthy, tasty treat options and the premium foods nearly all have a low calorie “diet” version designed to be filling, more slowly absorbed, and have less calories.  If you are feeding a raw food diet, reduce the amount, consider using less fatty bones, and bulk up with green and orange vegetables. 

And don’t forget the exercise.

Click here for dog foods for overweight dogs

Click here for cat foods for overweight cats

 

# 2 - Dental Care

If a proper dental routine is not in place dental decay can start to happen from puppy and kitten stage.  As your pet ages however this is when it is likely to get even more serious. Cavities form causing pain, gum disease sets in and this can lead to many other health issues such as heart disease. You should  regularly check your pets teeth, and get and annual vet dental  check at the same time you get  your vaccines. But you can also do much at home. 

Dog and Cat Dental care need not be difficult

Many premium dry food are scientifically designed to help clean your pets teeth. Many treats are also scientifically designed to help clean your pets teeth. Any chewing motion, with non-sugary treats or raw bones will also help clean teeth. Many people also do not realize you can buy specific non-foaming, pet flavoured toothpaste for your pets and special brushes. There are even liquids you can add into their drinking water to help prevent plaque. So you just need to think about the food and treats you feed and see if there are any changes you need to make to your daily and weekly pet dental care.

Click here for items to help with Hip and Joint Care

# 3 - Joint Issues

Joint decay, arthiritis and joint stiffness is part of ageing. Active pets that run or jump a lot, many pet breeds such as Labradors and German Shepherds and large cats are also prone to joint damage or disease. If your pet is taking longer to get up, running less or not wanting to play “fetch” as much it is likely they have joint pain. You may also notice they flinch when you touch them in certain places. 

Easy Joint Care

To help prevent and ease joint decay and pain there are a variety of products you can use which have the correct amount of supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin in the correct ratio. These supplements help to repair and buffer the joints.  They come in treat form, powder form and tablet form.  Gentle exercise can also help to prevent the joints from stiffening.

Many Premium Dry Foods also have Joint specific diets and have Glucosamine and Chondriotin added in their Senior Foods.  Obviously if it’s serious you should check with your vet as there are a number of different courses of treatment they can give to help ease your pets pain and improve their quality of life. 

 

** DISCLAIMER: This article is the personal opinion of the Pets Unleashed team. We always recommend seeking specialist or veterinarian advice when it comes to making decisions about the health or well-being of your pet, particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.