How to care for an elderly cat

Thanks to better nutrition, disease prevention and proper home care, cats are now living longer than ever before. Senior cats have recently been redefined as cats over the age of 11 years, but it’s not uncommon for us to see a ‘super-senior’ feline over the age of 18 years. We have even had the pleasure of helping to celebrate some feline 21st birthdays this year!

Here are a few essential things to consider when it comes to caring for an ageing feline:

  1. Ageing pets need more regular vet check-ups.

Cats are experts at hiding pain and keeping to themselves if they feel unwell. It is common for a cat suffering from painful arthritis, insidious dental disease or chronic kidney disease to sleep a bit more or potentially be a bit picky with their food. Because of this, we like to see your elderly cat for regular health checks, at least every six months.

Blood and urine testing, as well as blood pressure checks, are also crucial for our ageing feline friends. We can get a lot of information about the health of your cat from these diagnostic procedures and diagnose diseases such as hypertension and kidney disease. 

  1. Keep a close eye on habits.

Knowing what is normal for your elderly cat in terms of eating, drinking, toileting, and sleeping is an excellent way to pick up on any changes early. Some older cats may have reduced appetite due to diminished smell and taste, but a lack of appetite can also be a symptom of diseases or pain. Conversely, an increased appetite may also be a symptom of diseases such as hyperthyroidism. 

Older cats may be less inclined to want to toilet outside, especially if it’s cold or if they have arthritis. It’s a good idea to provide multiple litter trays, in different areas of the house. This way you can also keep an eye on elimination habits and look for blood in the urine or changes in faecal consistency, also another indicator of disease. 

  1. Grooming and claw trimming is essential.

Geriatric cats are generally not as good at grooming themselves as they might have once been in their younger years. This may be due to sore joints or secondary to conditions such as dementia (a common condition in dogs that is now better recognised in cats). 

You may need to regularly brush your elderly cat and gently tease out any mats. This is also an excellent time to check for any lumps or bumps, skin irritations or other changes that could indicate illness. Please arrange a check-up with us if you find anything unusual. Long-haired cats are susceptible to severe matting – avoid attempting to cut these with scissors as more often than not your will end up cutting your friends skin. Our nursing team are happy to help with clipping mats using pet clippers. A de-furminator comb is a handy tool to use with long hair cats as it helps comb out the tangles from the skin, reducing matts and evening helping to remove them.

We recommend checking your elderly cat’s nails twice a week. It is common for older cats to get overgrown nails, which can get stuck in carpet and furniture and even grow into their footpads. Ouch! Ask us for more information on how to trim your cat’s claws, or call us if you would like to book in a nail trim with one of our nurses. Regular nail trims are also a great opportunity to have your elderly friend weighed on a regular basis to help keep an eye out for any early drops in weight.

If you have any questions or concerns about your geriatric feline friends please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Help Your Dog Lose Weight: 3 Quick Tips

How many times have you heard someone say their New Year’s resolution is for weight loss? It’s a common goal for pet owners to set for themselves, but it seems many are unsure about how to help their furry friends get back to a healthy weight. In fact, did you know that around 40% of dogs in Australia are obese or overweight? To help your dog get back on track in the New Year, today we are sharing some valuable weight management information from the vets at our Casey veterinary hospital.


How to recognise if your dog is overweight

There are three ways to visually check if your pet is overweight:

  • Look from above: Dogs at a healthy weight should have an hourglass shape – not an oval shape.
  • Look from the side at eye level: A profile view of your dog at a healthy weight should show your pet’s abdomen tucked behind their ribcage.
  • Check his or her ribs: It should be easy to feel your pet’s ribs if you place your thumbs on his or her backbone and spread your hands across their ribcage. If you cannot feel them, it is possible your pet is overweight.


3 pet weight loss tips

Visiting the vet is the most important thing you can do to start the process of pet weight loss. Not only will a vet be able to provide a personalised weight loss plan, but they will also be able to track your pet’s progress and monitor his or her health.

We highly recommend visiting our Casey veterinary hospital for detailed advice on helping your pet lose weight, however, today we’re sharing three quick tips:

  1. Reduce your dog’s calorie intake according to your vet’s recommendation on the appropriate portion size. Measure all your pet’s meals to ensure you are serving the correct portion.
  2. Replace a third of your dog’s regular kibble with vegetables.
  3. Exercise your dog daily for around 30 minutes. This will help you tackle your New Year’s resolution at the same time!


See a vet at our Casey veterinary hospital

Vets in Cranbourne is dedicated to improving and maintaining your pet’s health. In fact, pet weight management is a key service offered at our Casey veterinary hospital.

Please do not hesitate to book an appointment for our Casey veterinary hospital online, or call (03) 5995 3444 to find out more about our professional weight management advice.

Osteoarthritis: Preparing Your Pet For Winter

Did you know Osteoarthritis is just as common in our pets as it is in humans? Osteoarthritis is the term used to describe the deterioration of the cartilage in your pet’s joints. This can cause them chronic pain, inflammation and stiffness that can make life for your pet difficult if it is not properly managed. During the colder months these symptoms often flare up and cause swelling that can be extra painful. For this reason it is important to give your senior pet a little more TLC on top of your regular care routines. In this blog we‘ll share tips on how to keep your senior companion happy and comfortable as we head into the winter months.

Staying warm

Keeping your pet warm during winter will help reduce the swelling and aches associated with Osteoarthritis. Little things like giving their bed more padding, or a blanket to curl up with, can make the world of difference for sore joints. Investing in a heating pad that is pet friendly will also help with pain relief and preventing flare-ups. Most indoor pets love to stretch out beside the heater or fireplace so this is a great place to put a fire resistant mat or blanket for them.

If your cat or dog sleeps outside then you will need to provide them with a draught and waterproof kennel that is out of the wind. A thick mattress with blankets and a heating pad will help to make the kennel much more cosy. Remember if your feeling the cold so will your pets!


Rain, hail or shine, your pet still need to exercise regularly. While long walks or runs should be avoided, light exercise such as a gentle short walk on a daily basis will keep the joints lubricated and functioning. (As well as keeping your friend alert and entertained)

Jackets and coats can also be utilised when your dog is out in the elements. A jacket that has thermals and is waterproof is ideal. There are even specialised protectors for dogs with Osteoarthritis to help relieve joint pains.

If you’re still worried about taking your dog out into the cold (Or prefer not to be out walking in the rain yourself) there are some indoor dog parks in Melbourne that provide a great sheltered play area.


Cats suffering from Osteoarthritis often struggle to groom themselves with the same efficiency they demonstrated in their youth. Earlier indicators that your cat may be suffering from arthritis include the skin along the ridge of their spine and base of their tail becoming dry and flaky and the hair becoming dull and matted. This is because it has become too painful for them to stretch around to groom that area. Cats suffering from Osteoarthritis will require regular brushing to help prevent their coats becoming painfully matted.

Home Improvements

Making a few small changes around the home will make life easier for your senior pet. Big steps can be a struggle for pets with Osteoarthritis as well as jumping up on the bed or couch for cuddles. You can give your pet a helping hand by putting up ramps or steps eliminating the need to jump or at least reducing the distance.

Regular Check Ups

In addition to lifestyle adjustments, senior pets suffering from Osteoarthritis need regular visits to the vet to ensure their condition is properly managed. We recommend bringing your senior pet in for a check up every six months to monitor and treat their condition as required. There are a number of inexpensive joint supplements and treatments that we can recommend that will help slow the progression of the arthritis and reduce the inflammation helping to keep your pet happy and comfortable.

To learn more about how we can help or to book your companion in for an appointment please call us on (03) 5995 3444.




How To Feed Your Senior Dog

Just like humans, dogs are living much longer than they did in the past. There are many different reasons for this, but the most important factor is nutrition. Dog food has come a long way in the past 30 years, and resulted in new generation of happier, healthier pooches. But as your dog enters old age (the last third of their normal life expectancy), it’s important to ensure that their diet is adapted to suit the changing needs of their bodies. In this week’s article, we’ll be sharing tips and tricks to feed your senior dog so that they stay healthy and happy throughout their golden years.


What happens as dogs age?

There are quite a few changes that occur as our pets age; much like us, their bodies start to deteriorate. Common age related deterioration in older dogs can include hearing and vision loss, reduced muscle mass and arthritis. There may also be behavioural changes, such as restless sleep, being easily startled and urinary incontinence. Obesity can also become an issue as older dogs tend to be less active. All around, dogs are more vulnerable in old age. That’s why it’s so important to pay special attention to their diet.


What does a senior dog diet look like?

Because weight gain is common in senior dogs, their diets must be lower in calories, while retaining the same levels of protein, fat and fibre to promote health and vitality. For some dogs, this may mean continuing their same diet plan as when they were younger, and simply reducing their intake. Fibre is especially important for older dogs, as they are more prone to constipation- it’s recommended that fibre constitutes around 3% – 5% of their diet. Consider adding wheat bran- it’s a great option to up the fibre!


Nutrition can also play an important role in managing chronic diseases in senior dogs. For example, older dogs suffering from kidney disease can benefit from a specialised diet with significantly reduced protein. The best way to determine whether your senior dog may benefit from a specialised diet is with a routine blood test which your local vet can perform.


Should I include supplements?

The answer to this question really depends on your dog and their needs. Each senior dog will have their own specific nutritional needs which can be addressed through supplements. For aging dogs suffering from joint pain, glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can help to alleviate stress and aches.


As always, if you’re not sure how to feed your senior dog, consult your local veterinarian. Vets In Cranbourne are experienced pet professionals, and can help you to determine what’s best for your dog, especially when it comes to weight management. Get in touch by calling 03 5995 3444 for more information.








How to Keep your Senior Dog Comfortable in Cold Weather

Although we are at the tail end of winter, Melbourne is still shivering through icy conditions that resulted in snow throughout central Victoria over the weekend. Whilst most dogs relish the opportunity to roll in snow, mud and puddles when the mercury drops, the cooler months can be harder for senior dogs (aged over 7). At this age, cold and wet weather can make things a little uncomfortable, as older dogs tend to have a harder time keeping themselves warm and age related conditions such as arthritis can flare up. This week, we thought we’d look at a few things you can do to keep your senior dog snug and happy until that spring weather finally does arrive.


Keep them warm

Senior dogs need a little extra help when it comes to keeping the cold at bay. If you have a shorthaired senior or a smaller dog who feels the cold, consider investing in a sweater to keep their torso warm. If your dog refuses to wear clothing, focus on upgrading their bedding by layering on an extra fleece blanket, or investing in a heating pad. Putting something like carpet squares, towels, or a blanket between your dog’s bed and the floor can also help keep your pet cosy.


Get them moving

Whilst it’s important to keep your senior dog warm, we don’t recommend confining them indoors for the winter months unless they are extremely old and frail. Most senior dogs benefit from light exercise such as regular walks as this helps maintain muscle mass and prevents joints from getting stiff and sore. When you do take your senior dog out for walks, we recommend keeping them on a leash at all times to keep them safe, as winter can often dull their already weakened senses. Also keep in mind that your senior dog doesn’t have the energy and stamina that they used to, so avoid overdoing it by taking them on a short walk in the morning, and another in the afternoon if they seem interested rather than taking them on one long walk where they may become overtired and injure themselves.


Take them for a check up

If you know your senior dog’s arthritis flares up during the winter months, it’s worth bringing them in to the vet to ensure their condition is stable and they are receiving the right dosage of medication. Your vet may also recommend a specialised diet which incorporates glucosamine and chondroitin to help keep your senior dog’s joints lubricated.


At Vets in Cranbourne we love to see our senior dogs! We recommend seniors come in for check-ups once every six months, as health conditions are more common in older animals and can deteriorate faster than in younger dogs. Book your senior dog in for a check-up with us by calling 03 5995 3444.

Preparing your pets for summer

The warmer months provide a great opportunity for us to get out into the sunshine with our pets! With the heat comes a few potential dangers – here are some of the more common things to be mindful of over the summer months:

Heatstroke is a common problem seen in both dogs and cats during summer and is very serious. A few simple tips can go a long way to help prevent it:

Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. Temperatures in a car can rise to dangerous levels and can rapidly reach more than double the outside temperature even on mild days. Tinting, parking in the shade, or leaving the windows open do not help to reduce the inside temperature significantly.

If you find your dog panting heavily, doesn’t obey normal commands, has warm, dry skin and a rapid heart beat, he may be suffering from heatstroke. Other signs include vomiting, anxiety and high fever. Try to cool them off with cool water, cold packs and a cooler environment; and of course see a vet as soon as possible.

Avoid walking or exercising your dog at the park in the middle of the day. Apart from the outside air termperature, another good test for this is to take a few steps on the footath in your bare feet – if it’s too hot for you, it is too hot for them!

Senior pets and arthritic animals sometimes can’t get themselves out of their hot kennel. Kennels should always be kept in a shaded area with plenty of airflow around it.

Keep them cool – keep inside if possible, frozen pet treats, ice blocks, paddling pools are all great ideas on those really hot days.

Is your four-legged friend a Pug, Bull dog, Mastiff, or Chow Chow? Dogs with short muzzles like the breeds just mentioned are even more susceptible to over heating, so as their owners, you need to be even more careful.

Senior pets

We love to see senior pets! Dogs and cats age seven times faster than humans, so it is vitally important that your senior pet has an annual or twice annual health check.

Health checks in senior pets often identify health problems that owners simply aren’t aware of. For example, we often see untreated dental problems where owners are often mistaken by their pet’s ability to still eat well. Usually, the pet has just learnt to tolerate this painful situation.

Annual blood testing for pets over ten years old is also an excellent way of detecting disease. Animals with diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease and even tumours often do not show signs of the disease until they are very sick. So screenings for diabetes, kidney disease and liver problems are important. Blood can be taken without sedation and test results are received very quickly.

We also often see arthritis in senior cats and dogs. This is a painful disease, but fortunately it’s one that can be easily managed with medication. If your pet has symptoms of slowing down on walks, stiffness after getting up, or reduced activity levels, you should ask your vet about arthritis.

Suffering from high blood pressure? – your cat could be too! High blood pressure is very common in cats and can be associated with elevated thyroid hormones, kidney disease and even blindness. Just like in humans it is easy to measure and can unearth an otherwise silent killer.

Via:: Dr Kevin Pet Advice