Senior Pet Care: What to Expect When Your Dog or Cat Gets Older
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.
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