The Aging Process
Your pet may be getting older, but the care you give throughout its lifetime can minimize and prevent disease as he or she ages. Proper care includes periodic checkups, routine vaccinations, parasite control, dental examinations, regular exercise, and a good diet.
As pets age, two types of changes occur: age-related changes and pathological changes. Age-related changes, such as vision and hearing loss, are normal and develop in most animals. These changes cannot be prevented, but you and your pet can learn to adapt to these changes. Many pathological changes or diseases can, on the other hand, be prevented or successfully treated. With good care to promote health and prevent disease in geriatric pets, your pet can remain healthy and active well into its twilight years.
Your veterinarian can help you to determine what foods, medications and procedures will improve the length and quality of your pet’s life. Your help is needed to carry out any treatment recommended. One of the most important keys to helping your dog or cat live longer is meeting his or her dietary needs. Obesity and weight loss are both common in older animals. Kidney, liver, or heart problems may change a pet’s requirements for sodium, phosphorus, protein, and fat. Changes in activity levels and muscle mass are common in older animals, as are changes in their ability to digest and utilize nutrients. Your veterinarian can help you determine the type of food that’s best for your aging pet.