Celebrating Senior Pets

Of course they say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (which we don’t believe) but you can celebrate your senior pets this month with some good old fashioned awareness and appreciation. Our older pets have a much closer spot in our hearts, as they have lived alongside us through different stages and journeys in our lives. If dogs could talk, imagine the stories they would tell! This month we have some great tips for caring for the oldest members of our pet families.
New Habits
Bathroom Breaks
Just like people, elderly animals require more frequent trips to the bathroom, and it’s important to recognize that as your pet gets older, he may be less and less likely to alert you to the fact that it’s time to go NOW. With your dogs, be aware of changing bladder and bowel function, and adjust your walking schedule accordingly. And with your cats, be sure to keep the litter box clean to account for increased use. For both cats and dogs, be sure to alert your vet to any significant changes such as constipation, diarrhea or an increased urgency to urinate.
Behavioral Changes
In their younger years, Fido and Fluffy may have been bursts of energy, racing after toys or running circles around the yard. As they grow older, their need for play may lessen and their behavior in general could change. Once outgoing pets could become more quiet and need more time to themselves, or on the flipside, quiet pets may suddenly need your attention more and more. Understand that, just like us, gaining in years can sometimes make our buddies tired, grumpy or anxious. Be patient with your friend and understand that sometimes he’s just feeling his age.
Dietary Changes
Packing on the Pounds
As pets get older, their metabolism can slow and they can start packing on the pounds. Senior pets need you now, more than ever, to pay attention to the ingredients of the food going into their bowls. Even if your pet is just a little husky (and I don’t mean Siberian!), it’s up to you to modify the type and portion size of their food. Luckily, dedicated pet food experts have worked for years to develop tasty offerings that help manage your pet’s weight. Selecting the best food for your pet doesn’t have to be complicated, and you can always ask your veterinarian for guidance on your pet’s diet.
Fiber and Other Needed Nutrients
Regardless of food type, as pets age, more fiber should be added to their diets to help regulate their digestion. Bran, apples, and even pumpkin can all add a powerful punch of fiber in your pet’s food, and this added boost of fiber will help ensure proper digestion, decrease risks of certain types of cancer, and encourage weight loss, among other benefits.
New Health Focus
Feeling it in the Joints
Arthritis can set in fairly quickly for our senior pets, and the discomfort it can cause can change a pet’s entire daily routine. Some dog breeds are more prone to joint or bone problems in later life, so it’s important to know what is to be expected with your particular pet. Upon seeing the first signs of joint stiffness, it’s a good idea to increase the intake of certain joint-friendly supplements, like fish oil or glucosamine, both of which can be found in certain types of foods and treats as well as in oil or pill form.
Dental Care
As pets grow older, more attention must be paid to their dental care. Offering toys that promote cleaner teeth is a good place to start, along with regular brushing and plenty of access to fresh water. With bi-annual veterinary visits, your vet can alert you if it’s time for a full cleaning, or if there are any issues that require stronger attention, such as an abscessed tooth.
Vision and Hearing Loss
Cats and dogs may experience some vision and/or hearing loss as they age, so it’s important to have the veterinarian check your pet’s eyes during each visit. If you or your vet determine there is sight or hearing loss, you can make proper adjustments to ensure the safety and comfort of your senior pet, both at home and outside the house.
Sleeping Arrangements
Your beloved little buddy may have always slept on the foot of your bed, but pay attention to what he needs now and make arrangements for him to have restful nights in his older age. Many pet care companies now make orthopedic bedding specifically for aging pets, so do some research on what type of bed can provide your pet the most comfort at night.
A Little Help, Please
Dogs that have always been allowed on the couch or bed, or even invited along for rides in the car, may have more difficulty now getting situated in their normal spots. Sporting dogs who have always jumped eagerly into the back of a truck may now find it difficult to make it past their front paws. Placing steps or ramps in typical places of entry can help your dog feel at home in all his favorite places, no matter how tired his bones feel that day.
Our pets are our friends, companions who have stayed true to us through thick and thin. And now, as they are growing older, it is our responsibility to provide them with the proper care and courtesy afforded to any respected elder. Take good care of your buddy and keep him for as long as you can and he will love you his entire life.

How to Choose a Vet (in 10 Steps)

Your pet is a member of your family, and when it comes to his health care, it’s important to look for the best. Whether you’ve just moved to a new place or you’re looking to up the quality of your current animal care, there’s much to consider in your pet’s new doc. Keep in mind that this person should not only have a caring touch, but also be fully capable of handling any emergency situation that could arise. The hardest time to select a vet is when the need is urgent, so take the opportunity to scout around for the best choice now. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter what happens with your buddy, you have a great veterinarian on call.
License and Accreditation: You certainly wouldn’t visit an unlicensed doctor for your own healthcare, and your pet deserves the same. A professional license to practice in your state is required, it offers a step up in knowing your pet is in good hands. Additional training and certifications should be noted, particularly if your pet has specific health concerns that require specialized knowledge. Check your state’s requirements and don’t hesitate to ask for proof of certifications; responsible vets will have these clearly posted in their clinics.

Referrals: The best form of guidance can be found in the referrals of others. What do current (or former) patients have to say about the care they were provided at the veterinarian you are researching? Good and bad experiences should be noted, specifically those that made all the difference in the satisfaction of the client. How reasonable are the charges? How thorough are the examinations? Was the vet friendly, approachable, easy to talk to? These are all questions you should ask of those who have had their fur babies treated at the vet you are considering.

Connection with the Community: Pay attention to the vet’s connection within the community, something that can be very telling determining the kind of person this vet is with animal care. Does the veterinary clinic provide discounted services to rescued dogs, or discounted fees for spaying or neutering a new pet? A caring vet will reach out to the community as an advocate for proper animal care, serving as an example of how to treat our constant companions with respect and kindness.
Personal Touch: Busy veterinarians can struggle with allotting the proper time for each pet, and it’s not always easy to spend as much time as they would truly like to with your pet. However, a good vet will not lost the personal touch with your pet, regardless of how busy the day is or how many patients are waiting to be seen. Your pet is important, and you should never feel as though your visit is being rushed or that your concerns are being ignored. Sometimes an extra few minutes just to pet your dog or give him a special treat can make all the difference in both your pet’s experience at the vet, and yours!

Diet and Exercise Knowledge: A great way to keep your pet from visiting the vet for more than an annual visit is to provide the right food and treats along with an exercise program, and a good vet recognizes these natural life and health boosters. Responsible vets are knowledgeable about the right program for your pet, and they advocate for proper diet and exercise.
Continued Education: The medical profession is constantly changing, with new and exciting updates in healthcare happening every day. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and a worthy veterinarian will consistently update his knowledge with new techniques and treatments. Many veterinarians receive regular training to keep skills fresh and learn about new options for animal care, and your vet should do the same.
Office Maintenance: Hospitals and doctor offices are kept sanitized and sterilized for a reason, and veterinary clinics should be no exception. Ask for a tour of a vet before signing your pet onto the registry; a worthy clinic should have no problem showing you everything from the kennels to the surgery, and everything should be clean and orderly.
Staffing Requirements: When your pet is being seen at an animal hospital, he comes into contact with many other members of the staff, and each of these individuals should be properly trained and certified. It’s okay to ask the vet about his staffing requirements, what is required of each position, and who would be involved in the care and keeping of your best friend.
Office Hours and Location: Ideally, your vet is located close enough to be reached in an absolute emergency fairly quickly, and the office hours the vet keeps is critical as well. While many vets do not provide 24-hour service, they should at least provide the contact information for those who do. Routine treatments and annual visits need not be handled urgently, but when every second counts, you want a veterinarian who is on call and ready to handle any emergency.
The Most Important Vote: Trust your pet’s instincts when it comes to choosing a vet. It is, after all, his doctor, and it should be someone that he trusts, even during times of sickness or injury. Of course your pet doesn’t get the same excited feeling pulling in to the vet as he would the dog park, but there should be some level of “hey, I know these guys!” that puts your dog at ease. Your vet and his or her staff should always try to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable for your pet as they can.
Take a few extra steps and check references, do your research and make sure a vet is the right choice for you and your pet. A little extra time spent in the decision can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your best friend.

A Note From Wellness

Dear Valued Consumers and Community,

At WellPet, our team takes food safety matters very seriously, so in an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily recalling a limited amount of one canned dog food product.

Recalled Product Details:
• Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs – 13.2 oz/374g
• The affected product is limited to one best-by date of 30 AUG 2019. located on the bottom of the can

(Please click here for a photo of the product and how the Best-By Date appears.)

A small amount of one recipe has the potential to contain elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. Elevated levels may affect a dog’s metabolism and can be associated with increased thirst, increased urinary output, restless behavior and weight loss. Even though the chance of a dog being affected is remote, we are voluntarily recalling this recipe and only these three best-by dates as an extra precaution.

Our Consumer Affairs team has received no reports of any health problems as a result of feeding this recipe. No other Wellness products are affected.

Given that the recipe is a mixer or topper and intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only, the likelihood of a dog being affected is remote. Multiple studies indicate that, for the vast majority of pets, symptoms are reversible as soon as the pet stops eating product with elevated thyroid hormone.

If you have any of the 13.2 oz/374g recipe with this best-by dates, please email us at Australia@wellpet.com or call us at 1300 959 154.

Please know that safeguarding the health and wellbeing of pets is of the utmost importance to us. We fully intend on maintaining the trust you have placed in us to keep your pets healthy and happy, and are removing this product as part of our ongoing commitment to quality and food safety.

Camelle Kent's Signature
Camelle Kent
Chief Executive Officer