Caring for Your Senior Pet
Our senior pets deserve the best care. They have different requirements than younger pets. Depending on your dog's size, he can be considered a senior between the ages of 7-9 years old. Giant breed dogs age faster than smaller breed dogs. For example, a Great Dane is considered to be a senior by the age of 5 years old. A Chihuahua is considered to be a senior at 10 years old and a Golden Retriever at the age of 7 years old. As your pet age, he'll experience age-related health problems, like humans. Many factors can influence the health of your pet. Such as diets, lifestyle, and genetics.
Here are some of the most common age-related health issues:
Senior Care Tips
Watch for changes in the behavior of your pet. While an older dog is less active, it’s important to pay close attention to the subtle changes in their behavior. Scheduling routine wellness visits for your pet is important. Routine exams will help our veterinarians catch and treat any problems early.
Here are some signs to look for:
Increased agitation or irritability
Changes in bowel movements or urination
Poor grooming habits
Arthritis is another common ailment in older pets. Especially in larger dogs and in cats. Contact us at The Veterinary Clinic if you notice any of the signs listed below. One of our veterinarians can examine and prescribe a medication to help ease his pain.
Trouble going up and down steps
Trouble jumping on an off furniture
Slow to get up or lay down
Another common condition with senior pets is confusion and anxiety. Watch for signs of:
Unaware of surroundings
Changes in their sleep cycle
Increased aggression or protective behavior
Decreased interaction family and housemate
Make your home senior pet-friendly
Get an orthopedic bed
Runner for the floors to help prevent slipping
Make easier access to water and food bowl
Do not rearrange furniture if your pet is having vision issues
Give your senior pet extra time to get around in the house or outside for walks
Caring for Senior Cat's
Cats over the age of 10 years old are considered seniors. As your cat age, you may notice a slow down in his activity level. He may sleep more, gain or lose weight, and have trouble jumping on or off furniture. We recommend routine wellness exams, bloodwork, and X-rays to help detect any early signs of illness.
Here are some common arthritic signs in cats,
Trouble grooming himself. Use a soft brush to help him with his grooming activity. This will help keep his fur tangle-free
Trouble jumping on and off of the furniture
Trouble posturing while urinating or defecating
Sensitive to petting
Older cats tend to be set in their ways and don’t take change very well. It’s important to keep their daily routine and environment the same. Cats love to sleep in warm areas. So, make sure their favorite area has easy access to a comfortable bed, litter box, food, and water. Make sure their resting area doesn’t get too hot and cause him to overheat or possibly burn him. If your cat is having trouble getting in and out of the litter box, consider switching over to a low sided litter box. This will help with easier access. You can also try lining the outside of the litter boxes with pee pads or newspapers for accidents. Place food and water bowls in a couple of areas around the house to help with easier access. Raise the food and water bowls to help with easier digestion and arthritic issues.
Cats are masters at hiding illnesses and may appear well, despite underlying problems. This is why it is important to give your senior pet more attention and schedule more wellness visits. We recommend scheduling a semi-annual visit (twice a year). During his wellness exam, one of our veterinarians will discuss how to care for your senior pet. Along with any potential health issues.
Your pet may not be able to chase his ball, go on hikes or chase a string anymore. The good news is they can still enjoy their senior years. Give us a call today and schedule your pet's visit.