Caring for Older Pets
An annual or semi-annual blood test can determine if your pet has diabetes or liver, thyroid, or kidney disease. Early identification of these diseases can help prevent complications.
Achy joints can be a problem for older pets, so if you notice stiffness or limping, your vet may advise anti-inflammatory or pain medications. It’s also common practice to give older dogs with joint problems supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, but your vet can advise you about what will work best for your pet. Give supplements only under a vet’s supervision. Making your pet’s life more comfortable may include installing a ramp to your car for ease of access or to your bed if he sleeps with you. Try a litter box with lower sides for cats, and treat your aging pet to a gentle massage.
If your most loyal pal has unpleasant breath, he or she could be suffering from tooth decay or gum disease, which can cause pain, difficulty chewing, and tooth loss. Treat dental problems promptly to avoid bacterial infections, which are dangerous because they can travel throughout your pet’s body. Your veterinarian may recommend dental work or a cleaning to remove plaque and tartar.
Although pets may require more care as they age, they will love you all the more for the extra attention as they live out their happy lives.