Thanks to better care, pets are living longer now than they ever have before – but as pets get older, they need extra care and attention. We need to be proactive about identifying and managing disease problems early in senior pets in order to increase longevity and quality of life.
Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet.
It varies, but cats and small dogs are generally considered “senior” at nine years of age. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans compared to smaller breeds and are often considered senior when they are 6 to 7 years of age. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not age at a rate of 7 human years for each year in dog years.
Age is not a disease. Although senior pets may develop age-related problems, good care allows them to live happy, healthy and active lives in their senior years.
While it’s easy to spot the outward signs of aging such as graying hair coat and slower pace, it’s important to remember that things you may think are just signs of getting older could be a problem. Behavior changes in your pet can serve as the first indicators of aging. These changes might be due to discomfort or pain (arthritis, etc.) or worsening sight or hearing, but they may also be due to the normal aging process. Some behavior changes in older pets may be due to cognitive dysfunction, which is similar to senility in people.
Let us know if you see a change in your senior pet. Together we can help our cats and dogs age gracefully!