Just like humans, dogs have different nutritional needs at every stage of life. When your dog enters his or her senior years, it is time to have a conversation with your veterinarian about your pup’s current food and what changes you should consider. These tips will also help you pick the right diet for your aging dog.
Consider Cutting Calories
Older dogs tend to be less active, which means they are also prone to weight gain. Same as with people. You can reduce the risk of obesity in your older pet by cutting his or her calories, under the guidance of your veterinarian. Some dog foods are specifically designed for seniors to provide an adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates with fewer calories, though some families prefer to just cut back on servings of their dogs’ current foods. Talk to your vet about the right way to cut calories without leaving your dog feeling hungry.
Add Fruits and Veggies
Constipation can be a problem in older dogs, so adding fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet can help. Keep in mind that not all fruits and veggies are appropriate for dogs, so talk to the staff at your veterinary clinic to get healthy recommendations. You can add fruits and veggies to your pet’s normal meals or offer them as treats between feedings.
Adjust for Health Needs
If your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with a health problem, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may need to make changes to his or her diet as part of the overall treatment plan. For dogs with joint problems, nutritional supplements can also help to reduce inflammation. If your older dog has dental health problems, switching to wet food from dry kibble can make chewing easier.
Diet can play a central role in preserving your dog’s health well into his or her senior years, and Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is here to help. We provide dog dental care, extensive preventive care, and emergency vet services to ensure that your pet always has access to the medical treatments he or she needs. To make an appointment at our veterinary hospitals in the north Dallas areas, please call (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas or call (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.
Thyroid conditions are common among cats, and they are something your veterinarian will monitor your cat for throughout his or her life. Although thyroid disease is most common in older cats, it can happen at any age. There is no cure, but thyroid disease can be managed by your veterinarian. Here is what you need to know.
What kind of thyroid disease is most common in cats?
Most cats with thyroid disease have hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid. With this condition, the thyroid is stimulated to overproduce thyroid hormone thanks to the development of tumors. The exact cause is not known, though veterinarians suspect that a combination of environmental, immunological, and nutritional factors could be at play. There is no breed or gender of cats that is more susceptible to hyperthyroidism than others.
What are the symptoms?
Because hyperthyroidism can impact different organs in different cats, the symptoms can vary. Classic hyperthyroid symptoms include weight loss despite an increase in appetite, increased urination, and hyperactivity. In some cases, however, cats can become lethargic and have a reduced appetite. These symptoms can sometimes indicate severe hyperthyroidism, and your veterinarian should evaluate them as soon as possible. If your vet suspects hyperthyroidism, he or she will perform a physical exam of the thyroid to see if it is enlarged and do blood work to measure thyroid functioning. In some cases, diagnostic imaging may also be needed.
What treatments are available?
Because hyperthyroidism can lead to heart failure, getting treatment is important. Medication can help to suppress thyroid functioning, but it needs to be administered for life. In some cases, surgical removal of one gland of the thyroid is recommended, but the other gland may then become hyperactive. Radioactive iodine treatment is another excellent treatment option, but it does require an extended stay in the pet hospital before your cat can safely come home.
Hyperthyroidism is manageable with help from your veterinarian at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, where we offer complete pet diagnostic and treatment services on-site. To schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, please phone Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or phone Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area at (972) 529-5033.
When your pet’s fur becomes long, it also becomes prone to tangles and matting. Matts can appear on the outer coat, where they are easy to see, or in the undercoat, where you may not notice them. Regular pet grooming is an important part of preventing matting in your pet.
De-matting your animal as part of a regular pet grooming schedule will keep your pet comfortable and help to prevent health problems. Matted fur can be extremely painful, and the skin underneath matts can form sores and other irritations. Sometimes, debris becomes tangled in matts and further irritates your pet skin. During grooming, de-matting can be done gently to reduce discomfort for your pet. Brushing your pet regularly between pet grooming appointments will reduce the risk of matts.
At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, we are pleased to offer pet grooming in McKinney and Dallas by professional groomers who can remove matts while protecting your pet’s delicate skin. To make an appointment for grooming or to learn about other services we provide at our pet hospitals, call (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas or call (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.
As your cat gets older, his or her health may change over time, and you may need to make more frequent visits to the veterinarian. Fortunately, many senior cat health problems are manageable and won’t prevent your cat from living a long life, as long as he or she gets the proper care. Here are some of the most common health problems diagnosed in senior cats and how your veterinarian can address them.
Arthritis is extremely common in older cats. After the age of 12, approximately 90% of cats begin to show signs of arthritis. While arthritis is no doubt uncomfortable for the cat, it can sometimes be difficult for us humans to pick up on. Pay attention for subtle, telltale symptoms, such as new difficulty going up and down the stairs, a reluctance to jump on and off furniture, and stiffness upon standing. If you notice these symptoms, make an appointment at your animal hospital to explore treatment options. If your cat is overweight, losing some excess weight can also reduce the stress on joints.
Dental disease—especially gum disease—is another common problem in older cats. You can reduce the risk of dental disease with regular pet dental services at the vet and with brushing your cat’s teeth at home. Adding Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution to the pets drinking water has also problem useful in our hands. Dental disease not only causes pain and makes it difficult for your cat to eat, but it can also lead to systemic infections, including heart disease and respiratory problems. If your cat hasn’t had a dental checkup recently, or if you have noticed a change in your cat’s eating habits, make a vet appointment.
As cats age, they become more prone to vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. In addition to obvious indicators like your cat bumping into things, look for cloudy eyes. Depending on the cause of your cat’s vision loss, your veterinarian may recommend medications or surgery or environmental adjustments. In some cases, cats can adapt to vision loss without the need for extensive treatment.
From their first year through their senior years, the vets at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group are committed to helping cats live happy and healthy lives. You can make an appointment at our animal hospital in Dallas by calling (972) 239-1309 or for our animal hospital in McKinney, call (972) 529-5033.
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