Senior Pet Care
Pet care is always important, but as your pet ages, that importance only grows. Caring for an elderly animal has many complications and many joys. Where they were once active companions who could run across the yard in a second flat, they now have stiff joints, making them move more slowly.
Where they might once have had the energy to go on a three-mile run with you, they might be exhausted after the first mile.
Just because they’re slowing down doesn’t mean that they can’t have full and happy lives. There are many ways we can help senior pets live longer, more comfortable lives. And that’s just better for everybody.
Twice yearly check-ups and yearly (or more frequent) bloodwork are ideal for every pet middle-aged and older (this age varies by species and breed). Regular exams and blood work can pick up on issues before they become as serious, giving us the best chance to fix or slow down the progression of these problems. Our goal is to keep your pets happy and healthy with a good quality of life for as long as possible!
As with us humans, as animals age, their joints may become stiff or unyielding. They have aches and pains that didn’t exist even a year ago. We might see them limping a little or walking with a stiff gait. Maybe they have a paw raised or show some other type of distress. One common pet parent misconception is that pets will cry when they’re in pain- this is actually rarely the case! To put this into context- how often do you cry or yell every time your knee/back/[insert achy joint here] is acting up?
As much as it pains our hearts to see our furry companions suffering, there are ways we can help. Joint supplements such as glucosamine/chondroitin, MSM, omega-3s and green-lipped mussels can be a great first line of defense, and we recommend them for any pets nearing middle-age. If it’s more serious or more acute pain, then there are a myriad of possible medications that could be prescribed by your vet to help your pet manage pain and inflammation. Laser therapy (available at SIVG), acupuncture, physical therapy and other treatment options can also be very helpful.
When to Say Goodbye
The hardest part of owning a pet is how much they become a part of your life and your family. They’re a constant source of love, amusement, and companionship. It feels unfair that they are given such a short time in this world to interact with those of us who love them.
Part of loving them is knowing when the time has come to say goodbye. Whether it’s a chronic disease that has come to its end, or a severe disease that seems to have come out of nowhere, our elderly pets reach a point when we have to let them go and help them over the rainbow bridge. A wonderful resource to help you decide if it’s time to let your friend go is the 5H2M quality of life scale, which you can see here: https://www.queenstownvet.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/quality-of-life-scale.pdf
When this time comes, you want to have a loving staff to be there with you and your pet.
Caring for an elderly pet can be extremely rewarding. Giving them the love, comfort and quality of life they deserve will fill your heart with joy.
If you’re looking to adopt a new family member, Staten Island Vet would encourage you to consider giving a senior animal a forever home. Both your lives will be richer for it.