It may feel as if it was only yesterday when you first brought a youthful Tabitha home, but the years have taken their toll and she’s no longer the young livewire that used to bring you a mouse or bird as a gift, or stalk your eyelashes in the middle of the night.
As you gaze into her fading eyes – not that she’s awake that often these days – and notice signs of lameness when she sticks her head out from under the duvet, you know that old age is beginning to take its toll. Is there anything you can do to help? Unfortunately, you can’t turn back the clock but you can make life easier for your aging pet:
Keep an eye on blood pressure
High blood pressure can lead to blindness in dogs, and in cats it’s a symptom of an overactive thyroid. If the problem isn’t treated, it can lead to a stroke. Ask your vet to check your pet’s blood pressure regularly.
The right amount of exercise
Daily activity will keep your pet fit and supple – and keep ailments such as arthritis and digestive problems at bay.
Watch the scale
Obesity and old age aren’t good companions. In dogs, obesity can cause arthritis, heart ailments and cancer, while it makes cats prone to developing diabetes.
The correct food
In cats, the onset of middle age is at about eight years, and for dogs it’s seven years. At this stage it’s time to change over to food specially formulated for ‘seniors’. Your vet will give the best advice for your pet.
Fido will have to forget about his sweet tooth – reward him with a daily vitamin pill rather than sweets and biscuits. Ask your vet for advice on which types of vitamins will suit your best friend.
Many older animals tend to drink less water as they age, meaning that they run the serious risk of becoming dehydrated. Place water dishes in various places throughout the house and make sure that your pet is drinking enough.
Words and image: Home magazine