Aging is a normal part of life, and at some point all pets become seniors but the most important thing to know is that seniors pets have different care requirements than young ones and as an owner of an elderly pet, you need to take some things into consideration. Not all pets age the same, what is certain is that they all get old at some point, this does not mean your animal’s life can't be full of fun. Our veterinarian at Salazar Veterinary Hospital in Orlando can help you learn what changes you can make now to help increase the quality of your senior pet's life!
When a pet is considered senior?
Aging varies according to breed, size of the body, and individual pet. Larger dog breeds are aged faster than smaller dogs. Typically, at age 8, a cat enters its older years, small dogs at age 7, and big dogs at age 6.
One of the first things that will change for your pet as they age is hearing loss, problems with vision, or reduced activity. Those are totally normal but unfortunately cannot be prevented, another kind of changes are the pathological kind such as heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis, or dental disease. However, not all potential changes in your senior pet will be quite as obvious, that’s why considering taking your pet to regular checkups is very important to help identify any problem they might have and stop any development. Senior pets have an increased risk of developing issues very similar to humans as they age such as periodontal disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, digestive issues, liver disease, cancer, heart disorders, and kidney failure.
As a dog ages, they will start to have less energy, can develop cataracts or hearing issues, and eventually, their organs may stop functioning as well. Although the external signs of aging, such as gray hair coat and slower speed, are easy to recognize, it is important to note that the organ systems of a pet are also changing. The first signs of aging will serve as behavior changes in your pet. These changes may be due to discomfort or pain (arthritis, etc.) or sight or hearing impairment, but they may also be due to the natural course of aging.
While an aging dog is usually less active, it can help you spot concerns early by paying attention to odd behaviors. Please check for signs like:
The healthcare your pet receives throughout their lifetime can help minimize and prevent disease as they age. Even if they seem well, it’s suggested twice-yearly inspections for older pets. Many diseases will remain concealed, and when identified early, we are better able to handle illness. Talk to your veterinarian about how to care for your older pet and be prepared for possible age-related health issues.
Before they become advanced or life-threatening, routine veterinary exams will diagnose issues in older pets and increase the odds of a longer and happier life for your pet. Schedule an appointment for your senior dog today!