“You took me out for a walk today and I got totally drenched! You tried to put my favourite rain coat on but for some reason it just didn’t fit. PS Where’s my milkbone?” – Love, your senior pet
Has your dog completely lost his waist line? Does your cat’s head seem a little too small for her body? These can be signs of common aging changes for your senior pet: Weight gain and obesity.
While a pet at any age can become overweight, our senior fuzzy-wuzzies are at a higher risk of obesity due to health problems, activity level and changing nutritional needs. Age-related diseases such as hypothyroidism, a lack of exercise due to joint issues (or an owner’s busy schedule!) and over-feeding, are all contributing factors to our senior pet’s expanding bodies.
Here are some of the things you can do to keep your senior pet in tip-top shape:
- Ask your vet about senior blood work to rule out common aging changes, such as hypothyroidism
- Bring your pet in to the clinic for routine weighing in between checkups
- Ensure your pet is getting adequate exercise on a daily basis – frequent short walks, playing with toys in the yard, etc
- Feed an appropriate diet for your pet’s life stage and needs (your vet may recommend a senior diet or a prescribe a weight-loss diet if obesity is already an issue)
- Be accountable for the amount of treats given. Those table scraps and milkbones can really add up! If you want to offer treats (and of course, we all do), offer small amounts or even use some of your pet’s daily portion of kibble as a snack.
- Ask us about the Slimfit program for your pet