(BPT) - It seems like just yesterday you brought her home and made her a part of the family. If you own a cat or dog, you have fond memories of your furry family member from day one.
Fast forward to today. Just like with people, age sometimes creeps up slowly on pets. Every pet is unique, so changes happen at different times. What's more, age-related changes can be easy to miss because they appear so gradually over time.
Being aware and proactive is the best thing pet parents can do to help their pets stay healthy as they age. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that pets have a senior screening at about age 7. This allows the veterinarian to address any current concerns or potential health risks, including nutritional considerations.
Aging in pets can potentially impact the relationship you have with them, so being aware of the signs and what to do can help keep your older pet in the game. To help you understand what to look for, Hill’s Pet Nutrition has developed the "Tell TAILS" signs of aging in cats and dogs.
T = Thinking
Your pet gets confused by ordinary things, like how to find their bed.
A = Activity
Your pet is less active. Naps are now more appealing than playing or exploring.
I = Interactions
Your pet doesn't socialize with you as much as before.
L = Loss of control
Your pet is well-trained, but has started to have accidents.
S = Sleep-wake cycle
Sleeping patterns have changed, with more awake time during the night.
You’re the one who spends the most time with your pet, so it's important to note any of these changes and communicate them to your veterinarian. Consistent vet visits and changing your pet’s food are just two things that can help older pets to continue to remain healthy in their later years.
“As pets grow older, aging occurs inside every cell in their body and Hill’s studies these changes down to the gene level,” says Kathy Gross, Director of Clinical Nutrition at Hill’s Science Diet. “Our research shows that gene expression and activity are different in pets aged 7 and older compared to their younger counterparts. Through this research we’ve identified natural ingredients and nutrients that change gene activity and used that knowledge to create pet foods for pets of this age."
When selecting food, consider key nutrients important for pets aged 7 and older. A high-quality food like Hill’s Science Diet Youthful Vitality, developed from over a decade of extensive research, includes:
* High-quality protein with balanced levels of essential amino acids to support muscles.
* L-carnitine to help the body convert nutrients into energy to move, run and play.
* Right balance of phosphorus and sodium, not too much and not too little, helps maintain a healthy bladder, kidneys and heart.
* Antioxidant vitamins E and C along with beta-carotene and selenium to protect cells and support healthy immune function.
In addition to making nutritional adjustments, consider these smart tips for helping your pet get the most out of life and unlock their ageless spirit:
1. Providing regular exercise and opportunities to interact with family members helps keep older pets in shape and their minds actively engaged.
2. Just as with people, maintain a healthy body weight and body proportion (more muscle, strong bones, less body fat) by avoiding overfeeding, doing regular weigh-ins and avoiding unhealthy snacks.
4. Regular veterinary checkups (once per year for middle-aged pets and twice per year for senior pets over the age of 7) are recommended so any concerns or potential health risks can be addressed.
For more information about pet health for cats and dogs, visit www.HillsPet.com. For more information about pet aging and the cutting-edge food science in Science Diet Youthful Vitality, visit www.ScienceDiet.com/YouthfulVitality.
Cats are typically self-sufficient family members, but owners tend to forget that those furry feline friends do need help when it comes to their daily nutrition. To keep your cat healthy, it’s important to look for a cat food with high-quality ingredients to help with their nutrition needs from head to tail.
Health Help for Your Feline Friend
(Family Features) Cats are typically self-sufficient family members, but owners tend to forget that those furry feline friends do need help when it comes to their daily nutrition. To keep your cat healthy, it’s important to look for a cat food with high-quality ingredients to help with their nutrition needs from head to tail.
“March is National Nutrition Month, which is the perfect time to re-evaluate what your cat is eating and make necessary changes to ensure you both are on the right path for a happy, healthy life,” said Dr. Jeff Werber, registered veterinarian. “Like humans, cats need a balanced diet to be healthy; look for a premium food that has animal protein as the No. 1 ingredient to help satisfy their nutritional needs and carnivorous appetites.”
Other key elements to look for in your cat’s food include:
Keeping your cat healthy and happy doesn’t stop with general nutrition. It’s also important to pay close attention to other health concerns, like oral care, which is often overlooked.
“In my experience, one of the most common health concerns I see cats face today is oral care,” Werber said. “That’s why I was happy to see that IAMS released a great-tasting cat food, IAMS Oral Care Complete, specifically designed to help reduce plaque and tartar while also providing cats with a 100 percent complete and balanced nutrition. It’s a win-win.”
With the proper nutrition from a quality food, your cat can be healthier inside and out, which means more energy and vitality for playing and bonding. Whether you’re starting a kitten on a new eating routine or reassessing your adult or senior cat’s nutrition, remember the importance of supplying them with a premium cat food that includes high-quality ingredients for lifelong health.
For more nutritional information for cats of all sizes and ages, visit IAMS.com.SOURCE:
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