Care for Aging Pets

Aging Pets
Thanks to improvements in medical care, pets, like their owners, are living longer and enjoying those added years. In some cases owners begin to treat their aging pets differently. They allow their pets to eat more and exercise less. But vets caution against this. Getting older doesnít necessarily mean their have to have decreased activity. It only means their bodies are not working as they once did.

Owners need to pay attention to changes in their petsí behavior to monitor changes in their health. Look into their eyes, watch for lack of enthusiasm and listen for a whimper. Animals shows pain differently than humans do. Dogs tend to become more reclusive, less inclined to climb stairs, take walks or to play. They have a harder time getting up. They may whine or whimper more, but any of the other signs can be mean they animal is in pain.

Now dogs can be treated for their stiffness and pain. A new pain-reliever for dogs called Rimadyl (carpofren) is the first drug of its kind to be cleared by the FDA. It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug available by prescription only. Currently there are millions of dogs taking this medication. Ask your vet about this if you think your dog is in pain. (Nothing yet is available for cats, however.) Absolutely donít treat an animal with human medicines unless itís been approved by your vet. Sometimes small dosages of aspirin (baby aspirin) are OK on a short-term basis but the can have side-effects and you should ask your vet before giving this to you pet.

Here are some tip that can help you help your aging dog make his or her remaining years quality years:
Around the age of 10, signs of animal senility may begin to appear. The symptoms may include disorientation, a loss of housebreaking, restlessnees, disrupted sleep patterns, disinterest in food and decreased activity. Pet owners and vets have long observed these behaviors, but in 1993, clinical trials found that dogs could benefit from the same dugs used to treat Alzheimer's disease.
The most common drug being used to treat cognitive dysfunction is Anipryl, an enzyme inhibitor that costs about $2 per day and works by stabilizing the dog's brain chemistry. Generic names for the drugs are deprenyl and selegiline. There are minimal side effects, but may include loose stools.
Unfortunately, may dogs are euthanized well before necessary because the owners and vets interpreted the signs of senility as the inevitable result of old age. If your older dog's behavior suddenly changes, you should see the vet right away.

When It's Time to Say Goodbye

Sometimes all the care in the world can't cure a sick pet. When this happens, owners have to face the difficult deicision of whether or not to euthanize their sick pet. Owners need to take a hard look at their pet's quaility of life - do they still enjoy their meals? Still greet owners with delight? Still enjoy lying in that sunny patch on the living-room floor? Or have they become detached - pulling away from the family, showing little interest in anything? Are they suffering from an increasingly painful disability? If you're in this situation and yet find that you can't bring yourself to euthanize your beloved companion, understand that freeing your pet from their suffering is the last gift you can give to your animal.

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