The medical community has long stated that owning a pet will reduce stress in your life. That comes as no surprise to us! Just last week, the American Heart association came out with a report stating that pet owners actually live longer than non pet owners!
Tag Archives: pet health
As hard as it is to face, our pets age faster than we do. Being informed and proactive about health care ensure the best quality of life for your pet for as long as possible.
What makes a pet a “senior”? The idea that multiplying by seven translates a dog’s age into “human years” is very misleading because pets age at different rates depending upon size, breed and other factors.
Generally, smaller breeds of dogs live longer than larger breeds, and cats live longer than dogs. So, a giant breed may enter his senior years at age 8, while the toy breed next door might not reach her golden years until age 12.
Of course, life span also varies with the individual, depending upon many factors including overall health and lifestyle. As they age, pets undergo changes remarkably similar to those of aging humans: hair turns gray, hearing wanes and joints stiffen.
Loss of sight and hearing
Progressive loss of hearing and sight are common in older pets, so it’s important to pay attention to changes. Excessive drainage, mucus, or bulging of his eyes may indicate a serious problem like glaucoma or dry eye. Any change from his normal appearance should be evaluated right away in order to preserve his sight as long as possible and prevent further damage.
Be sure to make allowances for his limitations. If your best friend is losing his eyesight, avoid moving furniture or your pet’s food and water bowls and bedding. When you take your dog into unfamiliar territory, keep him on a lead and walk him slowly through the new place. Stay close by and reassure him.
If your pet’s vision is normal, you may be able to compensate for deafness by using hand signals. Dogs, in particular, normally communicate with each other through body movements, so they will readily understand hand signals. Never let a pet that is visually or hearing impaired roam freely outside.
Coping with arthritis
Osteoarthritis affects dogs just it as does people. If you notice your dog limping, having trouble climbing stairs or not being able to find a comfortable place to rest, a visit to your veterinarian is also in order.
There are well-tested medications available that can lessen the pain and stiffness of arthritis so your pet can move with greater ease and enjoy a better quality of life.
You can help ward off some of the effects of arthritis by keeping him slim, since excess weight put unnecessary stress on joints. It’s important to keep him as active as possible, too. Lack of exercise can increase joint stiffness and may lead to muscle atrophy from lack of use. Be sure to get him out for a walk every day. If your dog is otherwise healthy, consider doggy day camp a few times a week. The excitement of being around other dogs may encourage your senior to get moving.
Regular exams are key
Many diseases that are known to afflict aging humans also affect our aging pets: kidney, heart, and liver disease; tumors and cancers; diabetes; and even dementia. Regular physical examinations and laboratory blood and urine tests by your pet’s veterinarian are critical for early detection of problems.
Weight loss, a significant decrease in appetite, excessive panting, constant whining or pacing, loss of housebreaking, hair loss and changes in behavior can be early indicators of a medical problem. If you see new any of these problems, have your pet checked by his veterinarian.
Even if your pet has no unusual problems, regular screenings can help you maintain your pet’s body weight and condition and ensure a better quality of life during those senior years. Most experts recommend twice yearly visits for dogs in their senior years. It may seem like a lot, but if you think of it in terms of how fast your pet is aging, it would be like a person going for an annual physical every 3 to 4 years.
Your veterinarian understands that your pet is part of the family and can help make all the years that you share with your pet rich and fulfilling.
Did you begin the 2013 by making New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps to exercise more, eat better or spend more quality time with family and friends during 2013?
As pet owners, we should consider adding a resolution or two designed to improve our pets’ health and well-being. We asked our Dog Dish experts for their advice on ways we can be better pet parents in the year ahead. Here are their recommendations:
1. Take your pet to the vet — A healthy-pet check-up and routine testing is important, so schedule a visit to your pet’s veterinarian. Be sure your pet’s vaccinations are current, and keep up with heartworm and flea treatments throughout the year.
2. Get weight under control. If your pet is overweight, it’s essential to assess his diet. Your pet’s needs change over time, so be sure to ask your vet about the best diet for her age, breed and health. Resolve to stop feeding table scraps to your pet and to cut back on treats.
3. Pump up the exercise. Without a regular work-out, your dog may put on weight and develop health problems or behavioral issues. A long walk or run can be a bonding experience, but if you can’t fit one in your schedule every day, doggy day camp is a great alternative.
4. Send him to school. A well-behaved dog is a pleasure to be with, but training is also your responsibility as a pet parent. Whether it’s to learn the basics, take on advanced tricks or try agility, enroll the two of you in a training class this winter.
5. Make grooming routine. Regular brushing and bathing do more than just you’re your pet nice to be near; they contribute to your pet’s good health. Always use shampoo and conditioning products formulated for pets. If you are unsure about the best choice for your pet’s coat and skin, ask a professional groomer.
6. Give your dog a social life. Dogs are social animals and most really enjoy spending time with other canines. A dog that gets out and about has a higher quality of life, is better adjusted, and responds more reliably to training cues. Visit the dog park, join a meet-up group or enroll him in doggy day camp so he can make new friends.
7. Pet-proof your home. Be sure your house is pet safe: cover electrical cords, put medications away, clean up spilled antifreeze or pesticides, and get rid of poisonous plants or place them up high, out of reach.
8. Update your pet’s ID. Have your pet micro-chipped, if you haven’t already done so. Get a new collar and ID tag for your pet. Make sure your pet is properly licensed.