The Golden Years: How To Take Great Care of Your Senior Pet

If you have a senior pet, one of the most important things to remember is that although getting older is not optional, discomfort can be. In other words, older pets can still enjoy life, be active and pain free, and stay healthy for weeks, months, and even years to come. And your veterinarian can help make this happen. 

Working with your pet’s veterinarian during the golden years can ensure a happier and healthier aging for your pet, and peace of mind for you.  

Start With A Veterinary Visit

If you have noticed signs of your pet “slowing down,” you may have chalked it up to old age. But, age is not a disease! The first step in giving your senior pet great care is to address any health concerns. This starts with a complete nose-to-tail physical exam, and will likely be followed by diagnostic testing. By checking for abnormalities in body systems, we can treat disease earlier, resulting in a healthier pet and less expense to you. 

Some of the diseases that we can catch early with screening tests include:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease 
  • Heart disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Arthritis and joint disease
  • Dental disease
  • Cataracts

Pay Special Attention

When your pet is a senior, you may notice outward signs of aging such as a gray muzzle. But remember that your pet’s organs, behavior, and activity level may all be going through changes, too. Keep a close eye on them to know if they need our help. Some signs to watch for include:

  • Changes in weight (especially weight loss)
  • Increased appetite or changes in appetite
  • Increased thirst or water consumption
  • Increased urination
  • New lumps, bumps, or swellings
  • Persistent cough
  • Foul mouth odor
  • Difficulty getting up, climbing stairs, or moving around
  • Increased vocalization
  • Difficulty breathing or panting while at rest
  • Bouts of weakness
  • Increased sensitivity to noise 

Creature Comforts for the Golden Years

Senior pets will require certain changes to their environment. Focus on two areas: safety, and comfort. 

Older pets tend to be less agile and nimble than in years past, even if they don’t realize it. They are more likely to slip on floors, fall down stairs, and have more trouble navigating uneven ground and hilly terrain. It’s best not to put your senior pet into dangerous situations, even if those activities didn’t seem dangerous in the past. 

There are many creature comforts you can add to your home environment for your senior pet. Here are some tips:

  • Provide cozy sleeping spots and pet beds to keep your senior pet warm
  • In warm weather, ensure senior pets have access to shade, fresh water, and cool places to relax (preferably in air conditioning)
  • Let your senior pet avoid stairs by placing essentials on the same level as your pet
  • Evaluate your cat’s litter box to make sure she can get in and out easily
  • Keep a stable routine of feeding, walking, and playtime
  • Groom your senior pet regularly, especially if they are having a hard time doing so; keep nails trimmed to make it easier for them to walk
  • Talk to us about your pet’s diet, and switch to the highest quality diet you can
  • Provide plenty of TLC, petting, and love; your senior pet thrives on your attention

If you feel your senior pet is in any pain or discomfort, please contact us right away. Veterinary medicine is growing more advanced in pain management all the time, so there is no reason why your senior pet should ever feel painful or uncomfortable. 

As your partners in compassionate senior pet care, Felton Veterinary Hospital looks forward to answering your questions. Please give us a call to schedule your pet’s senior pet care exam today.

Road Tripping : Pet Travel Safety

Road Trip with Dog

With summer underway, many of us have the travel bug – especially after a year of sheltering in place! But when the open road calls to you and your pet, there are a few safety precautions that should be taken. Keep these pet travel safety tips in mind, both as you pack and as you travel, and ensure you and your pet both have the vacation you deserve. 

ID Tags and Microchips


Bringing Home A New Puppy: 9 Tips to Prep Your House

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time, but can also be stressful if you’re not prepared. From puppy-proofing your house to starting potty training the right way, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with your responsibilities in order to make your puppy’s transition a success.

With all the excitement and anticipation around welcoming your puppy home, it’s easy to forget important steps. But, preparing your home and your family for your new arrival can put you on track and ensure a happy dog for years to come. We’ve asked experts across the country, from Orlando, FL to Portland, OR, to share their best tip for bringing home a puppy.


Felton Vet Again…

To Our Covid Weary Pet Owners

Cat with owner

As of June 17, 2021, and in light of California and CDC recommendations, we are taking a cautiously optimistic approach and partially unlocking our front doors! Your pets will be so happy to be accompanied into our building by their people again AND so will we! For our safety and yours, our doors will not be “wide open” quite yet. Let us define our Cautiously Optimistic Approach:

We will still have ALL appointments types call us from the parking lot when they arrive.


A Team Effort: Pet Evacuations and the CZU Lightning Complex Fire

Packing cat for evacuation.

Many of us were woken in the middle of the night on August 16, 2020 by a violent wind and dry lightning storm. But perhaps few of us were aware that we would be evacuating our homes hours or days later. The CZU Lightning Complex fire, which started from dry lightning strikes in our beloved Santa Cruz Mountains, ultimately caused the evacuation of over 64,000 people, burned over 80,000 acres in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties, and destroyed over 1400 buildings, according to Cal Fire. 


The Light Fantastic: Laser Therapy For Pets

Cat on an exam table

Is your older kitty “slowing down?” Has your agility dog suffered an injury that just won’t heal? In these and many other scenarios, it’s possible that laser therapy could be the answer to your pet’s pain and discomfort. 

Used for years in humans, laser therapy for pets uses Class IV laser light to stimulate healthy cell growth, repair damaged cells, and promote healing and pain relief. 

At Felton Veterinary Hospital, we are proud to offer this therapy, and we are thrilled to share the benefits with our patients and friends. 


Felton Vet COVID Update 7/27/2020

Our Mascot & boss, Max, is on daily mask patrol!

Thank you all for your patience over the past 2 months while we had you wait in your cars as we examined your pets inside our building. Your cooperation (and appreciation) has been amazing! You have helped us find a rhythm to a difficult new routine. We realize retail businesses have started to open their doors. With the intimate nature of our business (face to face in the small exam room while we examine your pet), there is a lot to consider before we do the same. We want to do what is right for you, our clients, and for our staff. With the recent rise in Covid cases, for now, we want to continue our “new rhythm” of having our clients wait in their cars during their pet’s exam. We cannot wait for the day when our office is not just full of wags, purrs and tweets (ok, we admit, not all of our patients are THAT happy to see us) but also full of YOU, our wonderful clients from our wonderful community!


COVID 19 3-20-20 UPDATE

Cat loving owner

In light of the ever-changing conditions surrounding the pandemic, our protocols have also been very fluid.
In an effort to continue to protect our clients and our employees without sacrificing the care of our patients we have decided to discontinue the “traffic” into our building.
If you have a scheduled appointment, please call our office when you arrive in the parking lot. We will ask that you remain in your car while we take your pet’s history by phone. A nurse will take your pet from your car into our building for its exam by the doctor. After the exam, the doctor will call you with any questions or concerns, the nurse will return your pet to your car and we ask that you make your payment by phone before you leave.


Covid-19 Precautions at Felton Veterinary Hospital

Update as of 3/16/2020:

Today, along with many other counties in California, Santa Cruz County has issued a “Shelter in Place” order.  Veterinary Clinics are considered an “Essential business”. Our doors will remain open! We will continue to schedule appointments, we can refill your pet’s prescriptions and supply their prescription dog food. We will, however, be canceling our Wednesday vaccine clinics for at least the next 2 weeks as an extra safety precaution.


Chigger Season is Here -What You Need to Know

chiggers on dog belly
Chiggers on a Dog

If you’ve ever taken a walk with your dog in the woods or through a field, only to have your best friend scratching up a storm for the next several days, she might have experienced a chigger attack.

In cats, chiggers are most commonly found around the ears and between the toes, but can be found almost anywhere on the body. Because of intense itching caused by these mites , your cat may chew or scratch itself, causing self-inflicted wounds. The resulting skin lesions vary from crusted spots to areas of hair loss to raw moist bleeding areas.

These tiny orange – red mites (also known as Harvest mites) reside in grass and underbrush during September through January in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They are so small that you might not even notice them on your dog or cat but, once they become a source of itchy discomfort, they’re difficult to ignore.