According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), incidents of cancer and other diseases are becoming more common in older dogs and cats. The reason: vaccines, de-worming, and other health innovations allow pets to live longer. This increases their chances of ultimately contracting diseases like cancer or arthritis.
The holistic approach to pet health care suggests you:
- Feed pets a healthy diet that includes nutritional supplements when necessary
- Exercise your pets as part of an active lifestyle
- Actively maintain emotional well-being in your pet by offering a loving environment
The effect of these steps is to increase the longevity of your pet. These are also steps to ensure your pet’s senior years are good ones.
Preventing Cancer in Dogs and Cats
Throughout your pet’s lifecycle, there are steps you can take to help avoid the development of cancer in older dogs and cats:
- Have your pet spayed or neutered. This helps prevent mammary tumors and ovarian, uterine and testicular cancers.
- Avoid toxins such as chemical lawn-products and exposure to cigarette smoke
- Use pet-approved sunscreen on fair skinned animals with thin coats
- Feed a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet
- Use nutritional supplements and herbs to support the immune system
- Take your dog or cat to the vet at the first sign of any mass on your pet’s skin.
Exercise for Senior Dogs
Exercise is important for older dogs to prevent obesity and arthritis. However, you need to recognize your dog is not a puppy anymore. What was once a vigorous 2 or 3 miles may become a leisurely stroll around the block.
Try to maintain a routine for walking senior dogs. Go at a time of day when your dog is loose and mobile, and at a distance and pace that seems comfortable. Your dog may be the last to realize he is not a puppy anymore, so you have to control the level of exertion to avoid injury.
Diet for Older Dogs and Cats
As older animals become less active, they need food lower in protein and carbohydrates to avoid weight gain. Choose a food formulated for senior animals and avoid the temptation to give them unhealthy table scraps.
Older animals have trouble absorbing nutrients from food. To counter this problem, offer your pet a daily vitamin or supplement with digestive enzymes.
Like obesity, your pet can avoid joint pain and arthritis problems with preventative health care. Use natural supplements that contain glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain joint and cartilage health before problems become pronounced.
These supplements also help relieve pain and restore mobility in older animals that tend to stiffen up, particularly after napping.
The real key to having a healthy senior pet is a holistic lifestyle that prevents disease from developing. You might be surprised how active and happy an older dog or cat can be when they have had the proper diet, exercise, and attention.
Visit our webpage Caring for Older Pets for more information and products that can improve the health of senior dogs and cats.