Due to advances in veterinary care, available technology, and dietary changes, pets are living longer than ever before. Sadly, many pet owners have the misconception that time and age bring unavoidable changes to the health and wellbeing of their dogs and cats.
Our veterinarians and staff are here to erase the stigma that aging is a disease for pets. In fact, we'll tell you that many "problems" associated with aging are completely avoidable with the proper senior pet care.
Here at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital in Las Vegas, NV, we aim to help owners understand how they can best handle the special needs of their aging pets.
When Does a Pet Become 'Old'?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats and small dogs are generally considered to be of "senior" age at 7. Larger breed dogs tend to have slightly shorter life spans and are considered seniors at 6 years of age.
It has long been thought that a pet's age can be compared to human years with a simple formula, but so much depends on how your pet has aged to that point. If you've done your part, you've played a critical role in detecting early signs of disease in your best friend simply by interacting with and caring for them on a daily basis. If the pet has had continued preventative care, exercise, and maintained a good diet, it will likely show fewer signs of aging.
So What Is Senior Pet Care?
Caring for your aging pet doesn't mean you're going to see immediate age-related health issues. But it does mean that your senior pet will require increased attention, including more frequent visits to the veterinarian. In addition, we may recommend possible changes in diet, and in some cases alterations to the home environment.
Senior pet exams are pretty similar to those for your younger pets, but they are more in-depth. They will typically include bloodwork, dental care, changes to vaccinations and parasite control, and specific checks for signs of diseases that are more likely in older pets.
Veterinarians typically recommend screenings for health issues such as arthritis, kidney or liver disease, and cancer. Beyond blood work, X-rays, and urinalysis may also be used in uncovering these conditions.
We're Here to Help Your Senior Pet
Caring for a senior pet goes well beyond routine vet visits. We encourage all pet owners to continue supporting their four-legged friends by offering at-home care tips. Pets benefit from dietary changes, alternative forms of exercise, and mental stimulation through the use of games and toys.
If you're looking for a Las Vegas veterinarian to provide senior pet care, call Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital at (702) 259-9200 today.