Caring for your animals as they age

Holistic Vets’ Liza Schneider and Fudge.

As animals age, their ability to maintain health and vitality lessens.

An older animal in the wild becomes less able to hunt or graze and keep up with their peers. Their condition deteriorates and they don’t survive for very long.

Keeping animals outside of their natural environment places the responsibility on our shoulders to ensure their care promotes quality of life.

A contributing factor to the aging process is free radical damage – produced by the body’s natural metabolic processes through various chemical reactions, or sometimes introduced into the body from food or environmental sources.

The damage caused to cells is similar to sparks thrown off a fire which eat away the carpet in front of the fireplace. The result of this ‘wear and tear’ is usually obvious later on in life as degenerative changes such as organ failures, joint damage, and disease such as cancer.

Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, which are found in nutritious foods and nutritional supplements, act as free radical scavengers and help limit the damage caused, as well as aiding repair. In addition to loving care, a well-balanced diet full of nutrients with low levels of chemicals and preservatives is an incredibly valuable factor in maintaining your animal’s quality of life.

Dental care is also of utmost importance to assist in nutrient availability, especially in horses.

When quality of life becomes a problem, it becomes necessary to consider euthanasia. This can be difficult but is often a kind release from the pain and discomfort that some aged animals suffer from.

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