Ask the Veterinarian: Aging Pets

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Check out the Michigan Humane Society blog on Mondays to see common veterinary questions answered. If you have an immediate medical concern with your pet, please call your veterinarian! If you have a non-urgent question you would like answered on the blog, you can comment here or email us at mail(at)michiganhumane.org.

“My older dog seems to be having more trouble getting around lately. What are some ways I can make him more comfortable?”

Both dogs and cats can develop arthritis, especially as they get older. Signs of arthritis can be subtle and may include trouble with stairs, difficulty rising, or trouble jumping onto furniture. Cats may not groom themselves as well or they may have trouble getting to the litter box. It is important to have your pet examined by a veterinarian. There are several prescription pain medications and other treatments to keep your pet comfortable. Never give your pet any over-the-counter pain medications since these can be toxic and even deadly.

If you have wood floors, use non-slip rugs to help your arthritic pet get around. Provide easy access to litter boxes with lower sides to help your arthritic cat. Mild to moderate activity should be provided, but ask your veterinarian what is best for your pet. Heated beds can help in colder weather and are available at many pet stores. Avoid heating pads that may cause burns. Fish oil and glucosamine supplements can be given to both cats and dogs. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, laser therapy, and other treatments are now more commonly available. Ask your veterinarian what is best for your pet.

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