Dogs and cats reign supreme as the most popular pets in the United States and Canada, but pocket pets are close behind. Rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, rats, reptiles, birds, and other rodents and exotic pets are gaining in popularity as fun and gratifying pets for children and families. Thanks to an increased knowledge of and respect for animals, meeting the specialized needs of these smaller pets has never been easier. Small mammals generally don’t have the lifespans of our dogs and cats, but today’s animals do have the capacity to live longer than previous generations. Therefore, understanding senior pocket pet care is vital to ensuring our little buddies remain healthy and enjoy life even as they age.
Senior Pocket Pet Care
Just like dogs and cats, pocket pets require annual or semi-annual wellness exams. Signs of illness in these little guys can be difficult to identify, and health problems can creep up unexpectedly as they age. At Paws, Purrs, & Exotics Animal Hospital, our veterinarians are qualified to help you manage the health care of your small mammal or through every phase of life.
Regardless of age, providing your pocket pet with proper housing is one of the most important aspects of their care, but it’s especially critical to senior pocket pet care. Improper bedding, lighting, and humidity levels can weaken the immune system and contribute to respiratory illness, digestive issues, and more.
All pocket pets have their own specific requirements for optimal nutrition, and this is never more important than as your pet enters his or her golden years. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight helps with immune function and eases pressure on bones and joints. Our veterinarians are happy to help you formulate a plan to meet the nutritional needs of your pet.
Life inside our homes provides fewer opportunities for pets such as guinea pigs to keep their nails naturally trimmed, especially if they become less active with age. Attempting to trim a small animal’s nails can challenge even the most experienced pocket pet owner, so the occasional visit to our office can be helpful. Nails that are too long can be painful and may prevent your pet from walking or feeding themselves properly. Older pocket pets can have some of the same mobility issues as dogs and cats, so keeping their nails properly trimmed can be vital.
Rabbits other rodents living in captivity may need professional help keeping their teeth cleaned and trimmed. Teeth that have grown too long can make it difficult for your pet to chew his or her food, leading to malnutrition and other health problems. Many small pets suffer serious problems as a result of tartar buildup, making regular dental care essential to senior pocket pet care. Other aging processes can create anorexia, or a loss of appetite. In order for your veterinary team to best track these types of changes with you as your pocket pet ages, dental care can help us prevent some problems and uncover other issues more easily.
We’re Here for Your Pet
Keep an eye on your senior pocket pet, watching for signs of illness such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, or changes in behavior or appearance. We’re proud to offer advanced specialized care for small animals, and we welcome any questions you might have about how to care for your little buddy. We’re only a phone call away!