Posts in Category: Senior Pet Care
As our pets being to age, their health and their veterinary care begins to change. It’s important to know what to expect so you can help your senior pet live out its last years best.
Like us, many senior pets may start to experience the aches and pains of age well before it seems like they should. This can affect their behavior, energy levels, and mobility. The aches and pains can also be systemic of larger health concerns as well, making regular veterinary care a must for aging pets.
When Is My Pet a Senior?
It is commonly accepted that pet’s enter their senior years around 7 years of age. While some pet’s show signs of aging much earlier, and others even later, 7 is the accepted milestone for transitioning pets from traditional adult care and foods into the routines senior pets need to maintain for a healthy longevity.
Signs your pet is aging can include:
- Changes in behavior toward family and strangers
- Decreased mobility
- Noticeable change in hearing or vision
- Lack of interest in favorite activities or toys
- Changes in appetite and water consumption
- Changes in your pet’s sleep patterns
Senior Pet Care: Health and Behavior in Older Dogs and Cats
One of the first signs of age you may notice in your pet is a shift in his or her behavior. Your pet may start eliminating indoors or become irritable, sensitive to touch, and even aggressive in some cases. More often than not the changes in your senior pet’s behavior are a result of a change in his or her health.
Decreased hearing and vision, osteoarthritis, and decreased control of bladder and bowel functions can all play a part in the changes you’re experiencing in your pet’s behavior. Likewise, senior pets can suffer from a form of dementia, as well as other more serious, health issues that can have a negative impact on their behavior as well.
Senior Pet Care: Helping Animals Age Gracefully
At Naperville Animal Hospital, we love senior patients and know how to work with you to give your pet the golden years he or she deserves. We encourage all of our clients to bring their senior pets in for a wellness exam every 6 months and to have diagnostic blood screenings performed annually.
This proactive approach to senior pet wellness not only helps us detect serious health concerns before they escalate, but helps you manage other concerns of aging such as nutrition, exercise, and behavior.
If you have any questions regarding your aging pet’s behavior or health needs, please don’t hesitate to call us. We are always happy to help.
Cataracts are, unfortunately, one of the most common eye problems in pets. They are opacities in the lens of the eye and can affect any age, species, or breed. Most cataracts are inherited, but pets with diabetes, trauma to the eye, or other ocular inflammatory diseases can also develop them.
Some cataracts can result in complete blindness. Many pets do well without any type of treatment, however others develop problems such as glaucoma secondary to the cataracts. Others may suffer decreased quality of life related to blindness.
There is no way to reverse cataracts, however a surgical procedure can be performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist in which the affected lens is removed. This procedure, which is quite delicate, involves extensive aftercare. In the carefully selected patient, however, it can almost completely restore vision. Consultation with an ophthalmologist can help determine whether your pet might be a good candidate for surgery.
Here are the top 10 reasons to consider adopting an older pet when making an addition to your family!
- By taking home a senior pet you are making a statement- to your friends, your family, and to society, that these lives are valuable too!
- An older pet is more likely to already be housebroken. No puppy puddles!
- You know what size pet you are getting!
- They are ready to go- you can immediately start the fun activities associated with pet ownership like going for walks as they probably can already walk on a leash!
- Your love and attention won’t ever go unappreciated.
- Because senior pets are usually the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized in a shelter, you can feel good knowing that you have very likely saved a life.
- You will be ensuring your new older pet a comfortable, happy life instead of one in a shelter.
- A senior pet is not likely to demand as much attention as a younger animal- by adopting a senior citizen you can finish your cup of coffee in peace!
- What you see is what you get. You can more easily assess temperament, health issues, and other behavior traits in an older pet.
- You can go to sleep each night knowing that you have made a good choice.
And remember, bring your newly adopted pet to us for a first exam, parasite check, and rabies shot – all FREE!
Loss of vision/hearing:
Senior pets may not hear or see as well as they once did. There is often nothing that can be done about these changes, so we must help them as much as possible. Do not startle pets that cannot hear or see you coming. Avoid rearranging furniture and other objects in the household if your pet does not see well.
Difficulty getting around:
Arthritis is a very common problem in the older pet. There are many ways to help your pet get around, though. Steps or ramps made can help your senior animal continue to enjoy car rides or sitting in the window. Your pet may require a softer place to rest. There are also a variety of medications and treatments that can help with arthritis pain.
Changes in personality:
Older pets may not be as tolerant as they once were simply because they hurt. Take this into consideration, particularly when they are around small children who may not always be gentle. Pets can also suffer from a form of dementia known as cognitive dysfunction. Any major changes in personality indicate the need for an examination by your vet.
Accidents in the house:
Loss of housebreaking may indicate a health problem that should be investigated immediately.
If you’re noticing these or any other changes in your aging pet and would like to discuss his care, please feel free to contact us.
We accept walk-ins during our Doctor's Hours to meet your busy lifestyle. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, we offer those too!
News & Events
Meet Our Adoptable Animals!
We are currently fostering some great puppies, dogs and a cat available for adoption! Visit our Featured Foster page HERE to view all animals available for adoption and make an appointment to meet them at our clinic by calling us at 630.355.5300!
New Dog or Puppy? Time For Training!
Training is an important part of any dog's life! From providing mental stimulation to exercise and proper socialization, training will help in the development of a great canine companion! We are now enrolling for Basic Obedience Classes! Classes will be held at Springbrook Animal Care Center in Naperville, IL. Please call 630.428.0500 to register your pet or email: email@example.com with any specific questions you may have! The cost of the 6-week class is $120.
Keep Your Pet Healthy All Year Round!
We offer plans for puppies, kittens, adult dogs & cats. With affordable monthly payments and our convenient hours, it's the best value in helping your pet live a longer & healthier life! Call us at 630.355.5300 for more information!