The special relationship that the British have with their pets has long been recognised. 43% of our homes have a pet of one kind or another. Of the 27 million pets, dogs and cats are the most common and the pet population is growing steadily. Other countries that rank highly in the number of pets are Australia, India, South Africa and Thailand rounding out the Top 5.
The love and attention owners give their pets can pose challenges as pets age and owners still have a need to travel. Who can care for an ageing pet the way a loving pet owner does? Well, many owners have found that using the services of a pet sitter, experienced in caring and medicating older animals, has been the perfect solution. A pet carer can have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to problems associated with older pets.
Dogs sometimes suffer from arthritis and muscular atrophy, forcing them to slow down. They also get affected by hearing loss and will require extra protection from cars or people that they may not see or hear. The ability of older cats to digest fat and protein is reduced often requiring a special diet. Their sense of smell and taste may be affected and they are prone to dehydration.
Because animals cannot speak to their owners and let them know when they feel unwell, owners should make it a rule to take their pet for a regular veterinarian check up twice a year. Health issues increase with age and early detection is important to help cure diseases and ailments.
Pet owners should follow a few basic rules to ensure a long and healthy life for their much loved companion.
Yearly booster injections.
A pets immune system, like ours, will not be as robust as they age and keeping up yearly vaccinations will help to maintain optimum health and protect from serious diseases.
Routine parasite protection
- Flea control
- Heartworm prevention
- Other intestinal parasite medication
A pet may be older but still requires regular gentle exercise. Try to get a pet to be active at least once a day, this will help to maintain muscle tone, improve circulation and keep their weight in check.
Regular dental check-ups should be part of their routine when visiting the veterinarian. He will look for loose teeth, tartar build up, gum disease and also bad breath.
If appropriate, a regular bone is a great preventative measure in the fight against tooth decay for dogs.
A healthy well balanced diet
Often the ability to digest and tolerate certain foods changes as a pet ages, making it very important to keep on top of a healthy diet for optimum health.
Your veterinarian will have available a variety of special age-related foods and supplements and it is well worth a discussion with him to decide which foods are best for pets at this stage of their life.
One last thing, if owners are using a pet carer while away, remember to leave emergency phone numbers for the local animal hospital and veterinarian as well as detailed medical and feeding instructions. This way owners will be able to take a break knowing their best friends are being well cared for in their absence.