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Bay of Islands
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Companion animal care, Bay of Islands Vets, Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Kawakawa, Paihia and Waipapa

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Farm animal care, Bay of Islands Vets, Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Kawakawa, Paihia and Waipapa

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Lifestyle animal care, Bay of Islands Vets, Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Kawakawa, Paihia and Waipapa

Lifestyle

Senior Pets

Looking after our "Golden Oldies"

Many people do not realise that most pets reach their half-life around seven years old. This does not necessarily mean that you buy them a lazy-boy and clock and retire them to the lounge! Indeed many pets remain totally healthy and active well into their teens (which corresponds to a human age of sixty or more).

However in these 'golden' years your pet may be starting to show early signs of age which may be so subtle that you hardly notice them. For example, in winter months, we notice many older pets slow down a lot. This is often due to the pain from arthritis being aggravated by the wetter, colder weather. This leaves them unwilling to exercise and weight gain may result which places more stress on their joints. In the early stages treatment by anti-inflammatory medications or nutritional supplements may improve their mobility and keep them more active as well as allowing them to feel a lot more comfortable. Speak to us about having your pet checked for arthritis. If you are not sure we have a very good video for loan which explains the symptoms and tells you what to look for.

Exercise is very important and dogs which get lots of regular exercise enjoy many benefits. They are fitter and have more muscle to protect joints. They have healthier cardiovascular systems. They are less inclined to be overweight and usually have good appetites. Their digestive system functions better and they feel happier. Often their owners also enjoy the same benefits if they go walking with the dog!

BOIVets - taking care of older dogsDiet can make a big difference to the health of your pet, both now and in the future. The middle-aged pet has changing nutritional requirements and there are now excellent products which cater especially for different life stages. The older pet may need lower levels of sodium and potassium for healthy heart and kidneys. Vitamin requirements often increase due to poorer absorption. High fibre helps regulate bowel function and pets with dental problems may need food which helps to prevent tartar build up on their teeth. There is even a special food now available for dogs showing age-related behavioural signs such as disorientation, irritability or disturbed sleep patterns. Your vet can advise which particular diet is best for your pet.

Oral health is very important to the overall wellbeing of the animal. Regular Veterinary check ups will detect tartar, gingivitis or painful teeth problems.  Owners will often notice these problems by a bad smell of the animal’s breath. This smell is caused by the bacteria which are involved in the tartar. These bacteria can also enter the bloodstream from the mouth and cause generalised illness. There much that can be done to improve the quality of life for pets with dental disease.

Many problems will be picked up at the annual check up and vaccination. If your pet has not had a recent check up remember that one human year corresponds to approximately seven pet years!   Don’t wait until your pet is already suffering. Talk to us at Bay of Islands Vet Services and discuss how you can help your pet to live a longer, more active and happier life.

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