How to Care for Middle-Aged Dogs and Cats"Pet Boomers," dogs and cats in their middle age, are in a critical time of life when it comes to their health. If you can correct health problems at this age, you can usually solve the "old pet" issues later!
"BOOMER CATS"While cats can face arthritis, kidney disease is the number one issue in older cats. Blood work will detect the issue but it needs to be done before age 8. Research is being done as to why cats have kidney disease at high rates but little is known for sure. If you detect kidney disease early, you can use oral treatments like Azodyl™ and Epakitin™ to slow down uremic buildup, which helps manage kidney disease. Used daily, you can ease the kidneys' job of removing toxins from the blood. (Read Senior Cat Conditions for more information.)
HAIRBALLSHairballs can be an issue in old cats; excess shedding is the cause. Vitamins are a big help, as are fatty acids. Old cats with decreased appetite often lose ability to smell. Putting salmon oil on food helps with loss of appetite, and it improves the ability to smell food. It also helps lube hairballs so they pass. Fatty acids can help correct excess shedding. Alaskan Salmon Oil, Grizzly Salmon Oil and Grizzly Pollock Oil are all effective.
"BOOMER DOGS""Boomer dogs" can have kidney disease as well, but their biggest health issue is arthritis. As they age and get sore, they move less and therefore lose muscle mass in their legs and hips. Middle-aged dogs start to get weak if nothing is done early enough to stop the cycle. You can take the edge off of the soreness with Doc Roy's® Aches Away. This will ease the pain of grinding joints, including spinal pain, which will help to keep them active. It takes 3-4 weeks to get to effect so don't give up too soon.
You can delay the onset of arthritis and even improve movement with glucosamine/chondroitin products, but not all are made the same. If you have tried them in the past and they didn't work, don't lose heart! Know that the source is everything with these nutra-pharmaceuticals and getting a quality source is not expensive. (Read Osteoarthritis in Dogs: Prevention and Treatment for more in-depth information.)
Dogs have a tendency to become very comfortable on the floor in front of the fireplace in winter. It's important to take them out for short walks every day to keep them moving. Joints in motion stay in motion, and this helps to maintain strength. Don't go on a marathon; just taking them around the block is enough to keep things working. It is good for the dog's joints and our own, as well.
VITAMINSEffective vitamin use is important. It is no secret that the young, the moms, and the boomer pets benefit most from vitamin use. They not only require more, but they also tend to absorb less out of their diet. Doc Roy's® Forti Cal Gel is a good vitamin option for cats, and the calories are a plus. It also helps with hairball vomiting in boomer cats.
Giving cats a new product can be challenging. They need to be introduced as they have a natural distrust for new tastes. This instinct protects them from being poisoned in the wild, but it can be frustrating when introducing something new. Start small and give them a chance to taste it on their own. Wipe a small amount on their paw, and let them clean it off the first time or two. (Put small amounts on the paw or you will find it on the ceiling!) After they accept it, it can be a treat or you can put it on the food for them to consume at their leisure.
SKIN AND COATDull hair coats, excessive shedding and thin hair on boomer pets are not from age. These issues are easily corrected and are responsive to fatty acids, which may be lacking in their diet, or their absorption may have decreased with age. Doc Roy's® Derma Coat Plus can correct these issues in your boomer dog, while salmon oil helps boomer cats to eliminate hair and coat issues. It takes approximately 6 weeks for the treatment to have effect, so don't stop supplementing too soon or you may never get the new coat in place. Once the coat is in, using fatty acids routinely is the solution.
Age is not a disease – correct the issues your pet is dealing with, and he will live a long, healthy life. Our boomer cats and dogs will age well if you identify the issues early and help them manage for a comfortable, active life!
If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.