Your Senior Pet

Your Senior PetIs your pet getting older?
Like people, individual dogs and cats age differently.
Being alert to changes can help both you and your pet make these the best of times.

When Does “Senior” Start?

So when is a pet considered a senior? Generally, smaller breeds of dogs live longer than larger breeds, and cats live longer than dogs. Beyond that, the life span will vary with each individual, and your veterinarian will be able to help you determine what stage of life your furry friend is in. Keep in mind that some small dog breeds may be considered senior at 10-13 years, while giant breeds are classified as seniors at ages as young as five.

Senior Health Exams

Scheduling regular veterinary examinations is one of the most important steps pet owners can take to keep their pets in tip-top shape. When dogs and cats enter the senior years, these health examinations are more important than ever. Senior care, which starts with the regular veterinary exam, is needed to catch and delay the onset or progress of disease and for the early detection of problems such as organ failure and osteoarthritis. AAHA recommends that healthy senior dogs and cats visit the veterinarian every six months for a complete exam and laboratory testing. Keep in mind that every year for a dog or cat is equivalent to 5-7 human years. To stay current with your senior pet’s health care, twice-a-year exams are a must.

Laboratory Testing
Since pets can’t talk, veterinarians depend on laboratory results to help them understand the status of your pet’s health. Changes in these test results, even in the outwardly healthy animal, may signal the presence of an underlying disease.

Sensory Changes
With the senior years comes a general “slowing down” in pets. As their major senses dull, you may find that your pet has a slower response to general external stimuli. This loss of sensory perception often is a slow, progressive process, and it may even escape your notice. The best remedy for gradual sensory reduction is to keep your pet active—playing and training are excellent ways to keep their senses sharp.

Pets may also be affected mentally as they age. Just as aging humans begin to forget things and are more susceptible to mental conditions, your aging animals may also begin to confront age-related cognitive and behavior changes. Regular senior health exams can help catch and treat these problems before they control your pet’s life.

Newspapers, paper towels, or other plain cage liner paper may be preferred over wood chips, chopped corn cobs, kitty litter, or sand as cage substrate so that the appearance and number of the droppings can be monitored on a daily basis.

Substrate should ideally be below a wire barrier so the bird does not have direct access.

Security
Many birds benefit from the availability of a retreat inside the cage for a sense of privacy (e.g., paper bag, towel, nest box).

Activity
Inappropriate species, opportunities may be provided for exercise in the form of supervised freedom from the cage.
Pet birds are intelligent, active animals whose psychological needs should be addressed.
Locate the cage near family activity in the home.
Toys provide diversion as do a variety of foods.
Seeds pushed into an apple or an orange present a bird with entertainment, challenge, and food, all at the same time.
Use your own imagination, keeping within safe parameters, and provide entertainment and enrichment for your pet birds.
Toys
Toys are useful as mental diversions and tend to encourage physical exercise and beak wear; however, they must be selected with the safety of the bird in mind.
“Chewable” items include branches, pine cones, rawhide dog chews, natural fiber rope, and soft white pine.

General Care
Minimal body care is required for the healthy, well-fed pet bird. Confined indoor pet birds that resist a varied diet require more attention in the care of the nails, feet, and feathers.

During the molting of feathers, additional fat, protein, and vitamins may be required in the diet. As a new feather develops, the bird may pick at the pin feather cover to open it. This should not be interpreted as “feather picking” or the presence of mites.

Pure water is the most appropriate feather spray. Keep feathers dry and free of oily substances. Soiled feathers may be gently cleaned with a mild detergent solution (e.g., baby shampoo) followed by thorough warm water rinsing and drying.

Wing clip may be desired to prevent escape or injury, or for taming and training. Your veterinarian can advise you on wing clipping.
It may be wise to remove open leg bands to prevent injury. If a closed band must remain on the leg for identification purposes, check under the band occasionally for signs of dirt accumulation, swelling, or constriction of the leg. A regular visit to an avian veterinarian for a routine health examination is advised in order to detect potential problems early.

To Avoid

  • Sandpaper-covered perches.
  • Air pollutants such as cigarette smoke, insecticides, and toxic fumes from over-heated non-stick-coated utensils.
  • Mite boxes or mite sprays.
  • Easily dismantled toys such as balsa wood, small link chain items, toys with metal clips or skewers, or those with lead weights.
  • Access to toxic houseplants, ceiling fans, cats, dogs, young children.

Recommended Supplements

A healthy diet and proper supplements can work wonders in keeping your pets healthy, improve their quality of life, and increase longevity. We are proud to incorporate the highest quality supplements in our fully stocked pharmacy. We carry products from manufacturers such as Standard Process, RxVitamlns, Designing Health, Nutramax, and many others. While some, such as Missing Link, are recommended for the majority of pets, they may not be appropriate for your pet or particular health condition. Please consult with your veterinarian before beginning use of any supplements.
Recommended Products:
1. The Missing Link: A powdered whole food supplement containing omega fatty acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and other supplements. These work synergistically to support healthy skin & coat, promote healthy digestion, increase joint & muscle strength, and stimulate the immune system.
2. Welactin:Contains wild-caught salmon oil (EPA, DHA) that inhibits tumor growth and metastasis, decreases allergic response, supports kidney function, immune system, and nervous system.
3. Mega C: A powdered form of Vitamin C and essential minerals to strengthen ligaments and tendons that support the joints and to boost immune response.
4. Dasuquin: Increases synthesis of joint fluid, which relieves pain. Oral preparations include glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin.
5. Blue Green Algae: Provides nourishment to the cells, resulting in a stimulation of the immune system cell production, as well as a decrease in an allergic response.
alkaloids promoting proper cell function and regeneration. Helps enhance the immune system and stimulates healing in arthritic & skin conditions.
7. Colostrum: Creates a healthy digestive tract, boosts the immune system and accelerates healing.
8. Transfer Factor: The most powerful part of Colostrum’s immune response. These are microprotein immune messenger molecules used to treat malignancies, auto-immune diseases and bacterial, viral and fungal diseases.
9. Onco Support: Combines bio-active phytonutrients with specialized nutriceuticals to support the increased metabolic need of cancer patients, resulting in increased vitality and improved immune system resistance.
10. Coriolus Forte: Palatable Blends of five of the most powerful medicinal mushrooms, complexed with atralagus root and licorice to have potent immune stimulating effects against cancer cells, bacteria, virus, and fungal pathogens.
11. Poly-MVA: Contains B complex vitamins, minerals, palladium and amino acids. This complex alters the electrical charge of DNA molecules to repair damaged DNA and cause cancer cells to self destruct. An 85% improvement rate has been documented by cancer specialist Dr. Greg Olgivie.

Pet Foods available at local pet supply stores such as Pet Food Warehouse, Wild’s Pet Supplies, Sand Bar Pets, Pets+ or Pet Country. Some may be available at PetSmart or Petco.

  • Blue Buffalo
  • California Naturals
  • Canidae / Felidae
  • Eagle Pack Holistic
  • Fromm Family Foods
  • Grandma Lucy’s
  • Halo (Spot’s Stew)
  • Orijen
  • Innova
  • Merrick
  • Natural Balance
  • Nature’s Variety
  • Newman’s Own Organic
  • Pinnacle
  • Sensible Choice
  • Solid Gold
  • Taste of the Wild
  • Wellness
  • Wysong
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