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How to protect your furry friends from Father Time

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Practice responsible grooming, feeding and exercising habits early in your pet's life, and then carefully watch for any signs of deterioration as the years pass.

The years as a pet owner pass quickly. Before you know it, that little furball you took home in a blanket is an old veteran of the neighborhood block. Tricks have been taught and potty training is over, but your work isn't done.

Senior pets require a different level of care. November is "Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month," so now is as good a time as any to learn what to expect from an older pet, whether you have one already or you're looking to bring one into your home.

You can start by laying the groundwork sooner rather than later. As your pet grows, proper diet, exercise, and grooming are all factors in the aging process. The more responsible you are about these things, the more likely your pet will have a strong baseline to protect them from disease later down the road. That means regular walks, limiting unhealthy table scraps, bathing, and toothbrushing.

Age is inevitable, so no matter how careful you are, you'll eventually need to look out for some telltale symptoms that signal a need for a vet visit.

Some of these symptoms could be related to temporary moodiness or general lethargy. If you're concerned about your pet's appearance or behavior, monitor the symptoms for a few days and take them to the vet if the symptoms persist.

Consistently paying attention to your pet as they age is important because older animals are more susceptible to developing certain diseases. Regular visits to the vet are recommended, even if you don't notice anything abnormal.

Potential diseases that can affect older pets

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Cataracts and blindness
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

As you care for your furry senior, keep in mind that they need more attention and help than usual. In a way, they're reverting back to the early stages of their lives. This gives you an excuse to spend even more time with them, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.