Improved veterinary care and dietary habits have allowed our pets to live longer and happier lives.
As our furry friends age, there are new health concerns that owners may not be accustomed to. Weight gain, loss of vision, and disease are just a few of the geriatric issues you may encounter with an aging pet. Veterinarians have done much research in the past few years to help educate owners on how to best handle their senior pet’s special needs.
How do I know when my pet is considered a senior?
Many factors such as size, breed, and animal are involved in deciphering when your pet enters her senior years. That being said, cats and small dogs are typically considered seniors around the age of 10 to 13. Larger breeds have shorter life spans and are considered geriatric at around six years of age.
One of the most important habits to get accustomed to is visiting your veterinarian at a minimum of twice a year. The frequency of visits are case to case basis depending on the recommendation of your veterinarian. A discussion with your doctor is a great way to learn how to provide the best care for your senior pet. As your pet ages, she will require more attention than when she was a puppy. Alterations to the home environment, changes in diet, and extra checkups are just some of the things to consider when caring for an older pet.
Here are a few health problems that may affect geriatric pets:
Kidney/urinary tract disease
It is important to pay close attention to your pet’s habits. Behavioral changes may indicate a serious health issue before medical signs become apparent. You know your pet better than anyone, changes in routine or daily interaction are important indicators that something bigger may be the cause. If you notice any changes, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian right away – and make sure to provide them with a list of all the changes you’ve noticed.
Caring for a senior pet doesn’t get easier but it doesn’t have to be hard. Ensuring your pet has the healthiest and longest life starts with you.