Your pet’s body changes during old age. These changes can include muscle loss.
There are two different types of muscle loss:
- Cachexia – Caused by an underlying disease.
- Sarcopenia – Normal effects of aging.
Read this article to learn how to care for your senior pet’s muscles.
Keep an Eye on Your Pet
If you know what to watch out for, you will know when it’s time to take action.
Here are a few signs of muscle loss:
- Thin muscles
- Weight loss
- Getting weaker
- Losing mobility
Visit Your Veterinarian
If you suspect your pet is losing muscle, make an appointment with your veterinarian. The sooner you get on top of this, the better.
Your veterinarian will use a muscle condition chart to score your pet’s muscles. Your pet will receive a normal, mild, moderate, or severe score.
Next, your veterinarian will determine the cause of muscle loss. Is it due to an underlying, serious health problem? Or is it just the result of aging?
If it’s cachexia, your pet’s health issues will need to be addressed. If it’s sarcopenia you might be able to slow down your pet’s muscle loss.
Feed the Proper Diet
Sufficient protein is essential for good muscular health. However, some senior pets have trouble metabolizing protein.
That’s why you should include easy to digest proteins in your senior pet’s diet. Work with your veterinarian to come up with the right diet for your pet.
Exercise the Muscles
Physical activity helps to maintain muscle mass. Just be sure to go easier on your pet now that he or she is older.
If you have a dog, a walk around the neighborhood is a good option. If you have a cat, playing with toy mice is a great idea.
Ask your veterinarian for advice about the best type of exercise for your pet’s unique needs.
Muscle atrophy is commonly seen in older pets. But you can minimize this loss through diet and exercise.
Listen to the Senior Pet Podcast to learn more about caring for your senior pet.