Looking a bit like a basset hound in a cocker spaniel’s coat, Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex Spaniel, ended his four-year retirement to take Best in Show honors at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show this week. Stump became the oldest dog to win top honors in the show’s 133 year history, unseating the previous record-holder, an 8-year old papillon.
This win is a great milestone for senior pets, and stands as clear proof that getting older doesn’t have to mean “slowing down” for dogs and cats. Pets are living longer, more active lives as a result of better medical and dental care, improved nutrition, and their move from the back yard into the family room over the last few decades. We’re always thrilled to meet active seniors like Stump; you’d be surprised to learn how many pets act “just like puppies and kittens” well into their later years when we pay attention to wellness needs like weight management, oral health, and health surveillance through periodic lab testing.
Often, the biggest impact on senior pets’ quality of life comes from chronic pain—in the form of degenerative joint disease (arthritis) and the pain associated with periodontal disease and poor oral health. The great news is that we have a number of ways to help reduce this pain. Dr. Burns and our staff hear stories every week about how pets seem to have years subtracted from their age when we take steps to manage joint pain or restore diseased teeth and gums to good health. If your senior pet seems to be slowing down, call to schedule an appointment or request one by using your Pet Portal on our website. Let’s work together to ensure that your senior pet gets the most out of her “retirement years.”