for Your Aging Pet
As pets get older, they
develop signs of aging just like people. Older pets can develop many
different conditions including kidney and heart disease, dental disease,
arthritis and cataracts. It is important for owners to be aware of these
conditions so they can watch for signs that these conditions are starting to develop.
Dental Care is Key
The most common problem is
dental disease. Dental disease develops when food builds up on your petís
teeth. This food mixes with the saliva in your petís mouth to form tartar or plaque. Plaque usually has a dark green or grey
color and adheres to the teeth. Over time, tartar builds up and cuts in
the gum. The gum then starts to recede and an infection develops.
As your pet ages, you may
need to brush its teeth as well. When your pet is young, rub your finger or
a tooth brush on its teeth regularly so it becomes accustomed to this
activity at an early age. When the time comes to brush, ask your
veterinarian about the flavored tooth pastes available that will make the
job easier and more fun.
Heart Healthy Advice
Most heart disease develops
when the heart is required to pump blood through more tissue than that for
which it was
designed. Obesity has become a major contributor to heart disease over
the last 10 years. The more overweight your pets is, the more its heart
must do to pump blood to all of the bodyís tissues. Step one in reducing the
chance of heart disease is feeding your pet a healthy diet to keep it at its
Light exercise is also
important. Make sure your pet exercises regularly. Short, frequent walks or
one long walk three times a week is enough to keep the heart in shape. It
will help to control weight gain as well
Tips for Healthy Joints
Arthritis can also develop
as a result of your pet being overweight. While obesity isnít the only cause
of arthritis, it does affect the frequency and severity of the disease.
Other causes of arthritis are excessive running, hard aggressive exercise
and individual diseases such as Lyme disease.
Long-distance running can
keep your pet in shape but, over time, can wear down the cartilage in
weight-bearing joints. Also, aggressive exercise such as Frisbee and ball
chasing can strain the hips, knees and shoulders. The sudden turns at full
speed can produce sprains and torn ligaments. Limit this kind of activity.
Allow your pets to enjoy themselves, but donít overstress their joints.
For aging pets, proper diet
and light exercise are very important. Avoid obesity by feeding the correct
amount of a quality food. Then, make sure your pet exercises regularly. This
will help your pet live a longer, healthier life.