Fall River Hospital Blog
It’s a new year, and you have vowed to get in shape and improve your health. Although you might have made this resolution before only to fall back into old habits before the end of January, you mean it this time. The good news is that having a pet gives you even more motivation to achieve better health. Not only does the love of your furry companion give you the incentive to take better care of yourself, but it encourages you to improve your pet’s health as well.
Looking For a Special Gift for Your Pet?
Your pet is a loved and valuable member of your family, so it only makes sense that you want to buy him a special holiday gift. If you decide on a toy, we at Fall River Animal Hospital would like to remind you of the following important safety considerations:
Your pet’s size: This is especially important when purchasing a chewable toy. A squeaky toy ball, for example, would be fine for a cat but not a large dog due to the potential choking hazard.
Stuffing material: Beads, foam, and other stuffing material could come loose from the toy if your pet bites it or tears it apart. If you choose a stuffed toy, be sure to supervise your pet until you know how she will react to it.
Attachments to toys: Items like ties, ribbons, plastic eyes, and even stitches can easily come loose and present a choking hazard to your dog or cat. You may want to consider removing these items first if your pet is especially rambunctious with toys.
Additionally, be sure to teach your pet which items belong to him as toys and which he should leave alone. You can reinforce the idea of safe toys by praising your pet every time he takes one of his own toys out to play with and redirect him when he tries to chew on or play with something belonging to another family member. It’s especially important to pet-proof during the holiday season so your dog or cat doesn’t get into office supplies, electronics, your children’s toys, or anything else he’s curious about but that could ultimately hurt him.
A baby’s first birthday is a bittersweet milestone for parents because it’s hard to believe how much their son or daughter changed in just a year. When compared with the lifespan of our pets, it’s important to note that our pets age more quickly than we do. Although our pets reach their “golden years” at varying times based on breed, size and species, at Fall River Animal Hospital we recommend bi-annual preventive care exams starting when your pet reaches his senior years. Because of pet’s accelerated aging, new health concerns can appear in very subtle ways, and early detection is the key to keeping your pet as healthy as possible.
Most Common Health Conditions of Older Pets
Dogs and cats experience many of the same age-related health conditions that people do. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the most prevalent ones include:
Cancer: Cancer is the number one killer of both dogs and cats over age 10, with mast cell tumors most common in dogs and leukemia in cats. Some signs that your older pet could have cancer include slow-healing wounds, behavior changes, weight loss, fatigue, and lack of appetite.
Kidney disease: Healthy kidneys are essential for proper waste elimination. When the kidneys become diseased, your pet’s urine and feces remain trapped inside her body. This can cause significant pain, vomiting, weight loss, incontinence, and greater thirst.
Diabetes: Pets are becoming just as inactive and obese as people are. In fact, more than half of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. This increases the risk of diabetes, but a pet doesn’t have to weigh too much to develop the disease. Some signs to look for include increased thirst, increased urination, irritability, fatigue, weight loss, and vision disturbances.
Arthritis: Your pet can develop arthritis when cartilage, which acts as a cushioning between bones, starts to wear down. This results in the bones rubbing together and causing pain. You may notice that your dog or cat uses some limbs at the exclusion of others, walks with a stiff gait, seems reluctant to jump, or vocalizes loudly when you pick him up.
Senility: Mild cognitive impairment is so common in the senior years that approximately half of all dogs and cats show some signs of it. You may notice a change in personality or a regression in previously learned skills. It’s important to remain patient and not punish your pet for something she can’t control.
Maximize Your Pet’s Health in the Senior Years
Unlike people who can voice their discomfort, animals have a natural tendency to hide when they feel sick or in pain. Regular preventive care is essential because it allows us to detect health issues you could easily miss. Between appointments, you can improve your pet’s quality of life with joint medication, supplements, toys to keep cognition sharp, and many other supplies from our online store. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 508-675-6374 with questions about senior pet care or to schedule an appointment.
Credit: jirousova/ iStock / Getty Images Plus
As much as you and your children might enjoy Halloween, this particular holidaycan be a stressful one for pets. They don’t understand why you have decorations and carved pumpkins with candles in them around the house and naturally feel curious enough to investigate. Your dog or cat may end up swallowing something inedible or even starting a fire by knocking over a candle. These are just two of several Halloween safety concerns to keep in mind. Fall River Animal Hospital wants to provide the following safety tips to help keep your pets safe and happy during the month of October.