HELP YOUR PET LIVE LONGER
When your pet becomes older and more infirm, there are a few signs that you should look out for. This page will help you to make life more comfortable for your pet as time marches on.
SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR
DRINKING MORE WATER
STIFF AND SLOW
Treat kidney failure early
Feed painkillers for arthritis
Feed diets for senior animals
Treat thyroid problems immediately
Reassure your pet you are there for them
DRINKING MORE WATER
Is your pet drinking more than usual ? Does he or she spend more time at the drinking bowl or seek out water on walks, looking for puddles and ponds ? This may mean that the kidneys are becoming 'tired' and unable to regulate the amount of urine the animal produces naturally. If the animal is passing more urine than normal, this loss of fluid must be replaced - by drinking.
A simple blood sample will show if the kidneys are functionning normally or not. If not, your pet can be helped using one or more medications designed specifically to help the kidney function better. This can prolong your pet's life by months or years if you act early and quickly.
You may notice that your dog or cat is leaving little puddles around the floor, or is unaware of when it is passing urine. This is common in older animals, particularly dogs, and indicates that the nerves to the bladder are not functionning well. A simple urine test will indicate if the problem is associated with cystitis or the nervous control of the bladder sphincter.
Very often a course of anti-inflammatory meds can help in this situation. You would be surprised by the results!
You may begin to notice that your pet has trouble seeing properly and fails to see food in the bowl, people moving in and out of rooms and so on. If your dog is on a walk and has trouble recognising other dogs, this may confuse your dog when greeted by another animal. Your dog may not be able to read the other dog's body language well. At home your pet may fail to see changes in furniture layout, new obstacles on the floor where there were none before etc. Lastly, you may notice that one or both of the eyes have gone cloudy or appear bulging and red.
If you see any changes in the eyes, these should be examined as soon as possible. Many eye conditions associated with old age, such as glaucoma, are painful and require rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Otherwise, your pet needs reassurance that all is well. Speak to him or her when approaching so that your animal knows who is coming - friend or foe. Do not make any changes in the house that might disturb your pet - animals have a good 'geographical' memory and navigate by using it. Protect your pet from other animals when out walking.
STIFF & SLOW
If your pet is slowing down physically, reluctant to jump into the back of the car or go upstairs for example, or is less keen on long walks, it is quite likely that arthritis has developed. People forget that arthritis can affect the spine as well as the joints, and very often this is the case.
A thorough examination of the head, neck and backbone, plus all four limbs, will help to determine where the problem lies. A course of anti-inflammatory painkillers may be necessary to make life more comfortable for your pet and this approach often works well.