As much as we hate to think about it — as much as we may try to deny it, we are all getting older each day. That is true of our fur babies too. We can’t imagine life without them. Just like us, as our pets get older they become more prone to a number of medical problems. But, with diet, supplements and extra care many of these can be prevented, delayed or managed. As pet parents, we want to help them live the longest, healthiest lives possible. Here are a few problems that afflict our senior pets and some things you can do to prevent, treat or manage them.
Most older dogs develop arthritis. You may notice a “slowing down” or “some stiffness” these can be signs your dog is developing arthritis. My 13-year-old Chi refuses to go up or down the stairs on certain days. Especially if it is cold or damp. I also noticed that he gets up several times a night because he can’t seem to get comfortable. If your Chi is overweight, it can make arthritis worse so it’s really important to help them lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. A high protein diet helps protect lean muscle while losing fat.
The ability to digest and metabolize protein slows down in older dogs. They need and better quality protein and more of it. Wet food in cans or pouches, as well as frozen raw diets. They are easier to digest and dogs love the taste. Adding digestive enzymes and probiotics will also help. There are specific digestive support remedies available too for more severe cases.
Kidneys work hard 24/7 and over time cells die and are replaced by scar tissue. It’s only after kidneys lose 75% of function that you will notice signs and symptoms of the disease. It has been proven that Antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful for pets with kidney disease.
This is one of the most common problems vets see in dog — especially Chihuahuas. Dental disease can show up in dogs as young as three years old. In this case the best medicine is prevention and it can save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars later. See post on how to save money at the vet each year. The best prevention is to make sure your Chihuahua has a dental exam once a year and twice a year when they are older. I know that brushing their teeth can be tedious and a real hassle in some cases, but if it is at all possible it is the best preventive medicine. There are also products that can help minimize plaque.
Just the word is frightening and can be the most dreaded disease of all. Half of dogs over 10 will develop cancer. Keeping a strong immune system at it’s optimum condition has been proven to help over all health, but especially in helping to prevent cancer. There are supplements designed specifically for immune support as well as healing remedies that have been used for generations to deal with serious health issues.