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Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Keeping your senior cat in good health : Tips on improving their appetite

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Cats rely heavily on their ability to taste and smell food and these are both reduced in elderly cats. If your cat has a reduction in appetite it is always advised to get them checked with your vet, however sometimes it can be due to their decreased senses.

There are ways that you can encourage food intake at home, this includes the following:
  • Warming foods to 30˚c – A cat’s taste receptors are most receptive when food is at body temperature as this mimics the temperature of live prey.
  • Strong smelling foods such as fish can help encourage them to eat as a cats sense of smell may be reduced due to age.
  • Offering foods that you know they have enjoyed in the past as familiarity is important to cats.
  • Offer a different variety and consistency of foods. Often a cat that has always enjoyed biscuits may develop a preference for wet food due to dental disease causing pain. Adding water to the diet and mashing it up may encourage your cat to eat.
  • Shallow bowls that do not restrict your cat’s whisker movements are important. In the wild your cat would use their whiskers to wrap around their prey to help them bite in the appropriate location. Whiskers are also important to help cats locate food and objects that are close to their face.
  • It is also important to offer fresh, high protein diets. Cats possess taste receptors that are able to detect the amino acids produced by meat and this can help them to distinguish the nutritional quality and protein content of the food. Offering a variety of foods, including wet and dry as well as a variety of food shapes will give your cat the opportunity to choose their preference.
  • Offer food little and often, do not leave uneaten food down for long periods or lots of different food choices at once as this can be overwhelming for them. Place the food in a quiet, easily accessible part of the house.
  • Raise food bowls up on stands or boxes as this may provide more comfort for cats suffering with osteoarthritis affecting the neck.
  • Providing your cat with attention whilst they are eating can help increase appetite.
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Keeping your senior pet in good health

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Ageing signs may be subtle in our pets over time, with some grey hairs appearing through the years or their pace steadily slowing down. Your pets needs as they age will change and therefore you may want to consider some of our tips below to keep them in the best possible health.
  • Watch for any changes in behaviour
    Unfortunately our pets can’t tell us when there is something wrong so it is important to watch for any changes in behaviour or unusual behaviour. This may include increased agitation, decreased appetite, increased water intake or changes in urination or defecation.

  • Consider changing their diet to a senior pet food
    When our pets get older, they are likely to become less active and therefore require fewer calories. Senior diets provide this requirement and in turn prevents weight gain. Obesity can contributing factor to additional health issues.

  • Keep your pet active
    Our pets should still receive regular exercise, however this needs to be tailor made to each individual pet on their requirements and needs. They are likely to require shorter walks than they were used to in their younger days. Exercise is not only an aid in preventing obesity in our pets but also great for their mental wellbeing too.

  • Watch out for signs of arthritis
    In humans, arthritis is common in our later years, it is also common in our pets too. Signs that may indicated that your pet is suffering from arthritis may include decreased activity, stiffness, slow to sit or stand or problems climbing up stairs.

  • Keeping them comfortable
    You may need to make changes for your pet around the home, this may include giving them a thicker, padded bed, adding additional bowls of water around the home for easily access or getting them a coat for those colder days to go walking.

  • Be Patient
    As mentioned we may see a decrease in our pet’s activity levels as they age but also they may suffer from loss of sight or hearing in their later years. It is important to be patient and give your pet that extra time they need when getting about or out on a walk.

  • Keep them clean
    With arthritis affecting some pet’s mobility, we are owners may need to assist them to keep them looking their best. Consider getting them a pet brush to keep their coat neat and tidy, it is also a great opportunity for the extra bonding time with your pet.

  • Watch out for signs of cognitive dysfunction
    In some pets, they may become confused and anxious in their later years. This can indicate cognitive dysfunction which can also include signs of incontinence, fear of sounds, decreased activity or wandering around the home with no purpose.

  • Give them time in different ways
    Although you may not be able to enjoy long walks together anymore, give them that extra time at home for play time in the garden and cuddles in the evenings with even a tasty treat for them included.

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group offer free of charge urine testing at time of your pet’s annual check for all animals over 7 years of age.

A clinical exam of your pet can pick up early cases of Osteoarthritis or Dementia, our veterinary surgeon may also advise a blood test if indicated at this clinical exam.

We also offer Senior cat clinics at our Stoke Road branch with one of our Registered Veterinary Nurses to check your cat’s blood pressure to monitor for any signs of Hypertension, click here to find out more here about High Blood Pressure in cats.

If you have any concerns regarding your pet or they are showing changes in behaviour that you are worried about, please contact our team on 01908 397777 to arrange an appointment for your pet.
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Still be prepared for Fireworks 2020 – Signs of Anxiety

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
As mentioned in our last post, this year is likely to be very different with respect to firework displays, with potentially an increase in smaller household displays.

Each individual pet will respond differently to fireworks, some may show just one or any combination of the following signs:
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Scratching at the door to get out of the room
  • Salivating
  • Hiding away
  • Vocalising – howling, barking, whining
  • Excessive or abnormal attention seeking
  • Loss of bodily control – urine/faeces
  • Unwillingness to eat
  • Hiding behind or on top of furniture
  • Refusing to eat
Visit our blog to find tips on helping your pet over this period
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Still be prepared for Fireworks 2020 – MK Vet Group’s tips for this season

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
November 2020 is likely to be a very different Fireworks night. With a lack of larger public displays, we expect there will be a big increase in smaller home events. Therefore it is potentially even more important than ever to make sure you prepare your pet for this fireworks period.

We appreciate this time of year can be a stressful time for pets as well as their owners, with over 40% of dogs and a high population of cats in the UK suffering from a fear of fireworks.

Tips and ideas from MK Vet Group to help your pets during this time:
  • Keep your pet indoors prior to when the fireworks are expected to begin. Remember to secure the cat flap if you have one
  • Keep all doors and windows securely closed
  • Make sure curtains are also pulled to muffle sound and block the light from the fireworks
  • Keep internal doors open so your pets don’t feel enclosed or trapped
  • Turn on the TV, radio or play music as background noise, it is a good idea to have this on in advance to the fireworks beginning
  • Create a safe place for your pet to go when they feel stressed, this could be their bed or you can create a den
  • Walk your dog earlier in the day to avoid the times when fireworks are expected to be started, and keep them on their lead at all times
  • Make sure our small mammals are lock up in their hutches and cover their hutch over with a blanket to muffle noise
  • Provide your cat with a litter tray if they are used to toileting outside
  • Feed your pet their usual meal before the fireworks are expected to begin
  • Make sure that your pet is wearing a ID tag and that their microchip details are up to date in case they do manage to escape
  • It is important to avoid any form of punishment if your pet reacts to fireworks, this can lead to further anxiety
  • Comforting your pet when they are scared is an area of controversy. Definitely try to be at home on days around fireworks night when there is likely to be the highest number of displays. It is advised that you don’t pay too much attention or ‘fuss’ over your pet when they are worried, as this can reinforce the fearful behaviour. For some individuals, it may help to hold them firmly and lean into them, while using long, firm massaging strokes rather than normal petting
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How to keep your dog’s teeth healthy

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Dental health is not only important in humans but for your pets too! Here are some tips to keeping your dog’s teeth healthy:
  1. Provide your dog with a daily dental routine. It is best for start from a puppy. Tooth brushing is the single most effective method however other methods can also be combined. Pick a suitable time in your routine and keep as your usual time.
  2. If your pet is older, you should still begin daily dental care, however it is best to have a dental check prior to beginning to make sure there are no issues.
  3. Make sure your pet has an oral examination every year at their annual check-up.
  4. Provide chews and toys that are recommended and are safe for your pet. Avoid abrasive objects such as bones, hard nylon chew toys or tennis balls as these often cause damage to teeth and gums.
  5. Feed a diet formulated to reduce dental plaque and keep teeth healthy.
  6. Dental chews can be used to reduce plaque and tartar build up however these should be accounted for within their day’s diet to prevent obesity.
  7. Keep the session short from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
  8. Repeat each stage daily then move onto the next stage when you dog is comfortable.
  9. Train at a pace that suits for dog.
  10. Give lots of praise and reward for GOOD behaviour.
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