Pets are no different to their owners. As they age things start to change. find out about caring for old pets with Dr Derek McNair

While they are still the same loveable pet you’ve always had, as they wander into their twilight years, there are some important things we need to do to make their lives and ours so much more enjoyable.

I see so many wonderful mature pets in my clinic that are an absolute joy.

There are a few things that will keep your loving dog or cat comfortable in its twilight years.

Schedule regular visits with your veterinarian – Your pet needs to be examined at least yearly if it appears healthy, as many diseases are hidden and not apparent. Remember it is much cheaper to prevent disease than it is to treat it!

Ask for a body condition evaluation during each vet visit. Body condition is crucial to determining whether your senior pet is overweight, underweight, or at an ideal body weight. In fact, you should also ask your veterinarian to show you how to evaluate your dog’s body condition at home.

Feed your older pet a high quality diet. Also, learn to read the dog food label and choose a diet that is appropriate for your dog’s age and lifestyle. Use food to keep your pet at their ideal body weight.

Take care of your pet’s mouth. Brushing your dog’s teeth may seem like a silly idea but it can help keep your dog’s mouth healthy. If you cannot brush, consider dental treats and toys that help keep the teeth clean.

Exercise your senior dog. It can help keep your older dog lean and maintain healthy joints and muscles. However, tailor your dog’s exercise needs to his individual requirements. For a large breed dog, walking around the block is probably just getting started but for a tiny Chihuahua, a brisk walk around the block may be a long trek. If your senior is not used to exercise, start slow and gradually increase the intensity — and only after you’ve consulted a veterinarian. Also, be careful with short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs on hot days.

Looking after your pet is something they all deserve no matter what age. However as they get on in years, it is even more important.

I’d love to see some pics of your loveable pets. Email or post it on our facebook page. Look forward to seeing them.




About The Author

In the Garden is an exciting new local South Australian TV program on Channel 9 this Summer & next Autumn showcasing the best ‘green’ stories this state has to tell. Check out the latest in garden trends, new plants and top tips to keep those gardens blooming.