I recently watched a webinar on Senior Pet Care, by Denise Fleck, of Pet Safety Crusader. Pet-a-Go-Go has so many senior buddies that I was thinking of while watching it, and I thought I would share some key points.
One of the really great points Denise made, was about the frequency of vet visits. She said that a senior pet should really be going to the vet at least 2x a year. Usually the annual check-up is sufficient, but as pets begin to age, new things develop quickly. What really hammered it home for me was having her lay it all out like this. As you know, one of our years is equivalent to 7 dog years. Imagine if your Grandma only went to the doctor every 7 years. Either, she is Wonder Woman (hey, can I meet her), or a lot of issues while go by unaddressed.
Along the lines of vets. Vets are the experts! They absolutely should be the last word. That being said, you do have to be an advocate for your pet. If you are certain there is something going on with your fur baby, stand your ground!
It is also important that you look into what breed specific health conditions could affect your dog. For example, Basset Hounds and Doxies are highly susceptible to spinal injuries. Or, Ragdoll kitties have an increased chance of getting hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Denise mentioned that seniorhood for pets under 20 lbs typically begins at 9 years old. Those that are 21-50 lbs begin it at 8 years old. It begins for pets 51-90 lbs at 7 years, and pets over 90 lbs begin to be seniors at 6 years.
If you want to help your senior age gracefully, make sure they get the love, nutrition, and exercise that they need through out their lives. Do a weekly head to toe check. A great thing to do once a day is, stretch their legs! It gives the joints and muscles the lubrication and tone that they need. Also, it gives oxygen and blood to the brain, and can prevent Cognitive Disfunction. I know it can be uber difficult to do this, but Denise recommends brushing your pets’ teeth daily. This is important for their over all health! Nasty bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the gums, and spread to the brain, heart valves, etc.
Everyone wants to give their senior the most comfortable bed they possibly can. It makes sense! But, it can also create issues. If their bed is too squishy, your fur baby may have a hard time getting out of it. Egg crate/shell beds are the best!
Take lots of pictures of your seniors! Even doing the most mundane things, like eating. It helps you be there for your pet in the moment, and will help with the grieving process!
If you are interested, Denise has so many lovely book, and other tools for sale on her site.