Work With Your Veterinarian to Make Your Senior Pet's Golden Years Healthy

Follow Up With Home Care

Once your pet’s most urgent health problems have been addressed, you and your veterinarian can work on a plan of supportive care, much of which you can provide relatively easily at home.

  • Pain management is essential. Older pets, like older people, are often dealing with pain that comes from arthritis. There are changes you can make at home — adding litter boxes on each floor, providing soft pet beds, even stair steps to help pets onto furniture — but the biggest impact will come from medical and lifestyle changes. If your pet is overweight, you must trim him down to relieve pressure on the joints — and your veterinarian can help with that! Supplements such as glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids may also help, and when it comes to prescription care, your veterinarian can provide a medication or combination of medications that will relieve chronic pain
  • The fluids need to flow. Many older pets struggle with hydration. In some cases that’s because it hurts to move, making getting to the water bowl more trouble than it’s worth. Pain management will help these pets, and so will making water more accessible and appealing. I love pet drinking fountains, and can’t recommend them enough. Providing pets with a constant supply of fresh flowing water is an easy way to encourage more fluid intake. Your veterinarian can also tailor recommendations to your pet, such as switching to moist food (which has more water content). For many older pets — especially cats — giving fluids at home gives struggling kidneys a needed boost.
  • Dental care should be daily. Once your veterinarian has fixed the painful problems in your pet’s mouth, be sure to keep the good health going with daily oral care. While brushing is ideal, it’s not the only thing that can help. Talk to your veterinarian about “good, better, best” options, including oral rinses and chews.

It’s up to every one of us not to take any day for granted, and that includes making sure our time with our pets is the best it can be. Your veterinarian wants to help make that happen for you and your pet.

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