A YORK vet is sharing tips with pet owners as part of a new campaign to help four-legged senior citizens thrive in their golden years.
Tower Vets has launched a Senior Pets Wellness Campaign this autumn to help pets stay happier and healthier for longer.
The campaign runs until the end of December and aims to show that, with the right veterinary care and medication, older cats and dogs can still enjoy their golden years even with medical conditions.
Registered veterinary nurse Linda McNulty said cats and dogs are living longer than they used to, which means that while we get more time to enjoy their company, they will be at an increased risk of developing health issues.
Linda said: “Pets are much-loved members of the family, and we want to do all we can to keep them happy and healthy, whatever stage of life they are at, but often they need more help and support in their twilight years.
“Through our Senior Pets Wellness Campaign, we are encouraging owners to get in touch if they notice any changes in their pet, even if they are quite subtle, and to let them know that we are here to support them and their pet.
“While we sadly can’t stop the ageing process, there are things we can suggest to help them through this stage of their life and treat specific illnesses and conditions. There are many ways to ensure that senior cats and dogs are happy and comfortable in their golden years when many of them are still living their best life.”
Common signs of a health issue in older cats and dogs are often subtle changes in their day-to-day behaviour, including slowing down, a change in sleep patterns, tripping or stumbling, weight loss, drinking and urinating more, changes in eating pattern and coughing.
Illnesses affecting senior pets include arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.
Tower Vets, which has branches in Fulford Road, Haxby, Acomb and Knaresborough, has launched senior wellness clinics, specially designed to meet the health needs of older cats and dogs.
To help you give keep your older pet happy, Tower Vets has come up with eight useful tips:
- Seek advice from your vet if your pet is showing any changes in movement or behaviour, such as stiffness, reluctance to exercise, a change of appetite or sleeping in unusual places.
- Make sure everything your veteran pet needs is easily accessible, so they don’t have to go far to find water, food, toys or their bed. Have a second source of water to help them stay hydrated.
- Book regular dental checks. As well as being a chance to spot signs of a problem, a dental assessment including a scale and polish to remove tartar before it causes damage, may save money in the long term and prevent pain and tooth loss.
- Make access easy and non-slip so your OAP can still confidently reach their cat tower or furniture or get up and down stairs without the fear of slipping and hurting their joints.
- Keep your pet at a healthy weight. Obesity can affect mobility and make conditions like arthritis worse.
- Groom your pensioner pet to help boost blood flow, prevent matted hair and help spot issues such as skin disease, lumps and incontinence.
- Exercise older dogs little and often and avoid or limit vigorous activities like playing ball that may make sore joints worse.
- Older pets may need more rest, so provide them with somewhere quiet where they won’t be disturbed, in a supportive, cosy bed away from draughts.
As part of the Senior Pet Wellness Campaign, Tower Vets has produced information sheets about veteran pet healthcare, which are available free from the practice. There will also be special offers on senior pet food and some senior pet health services during the campaign.