10 Things you should know about Senior Pets

Is your furry companion starting to age? Here are 10 things you should know about senior pets!

  1. Small Dogs and Cats are generally considered to be “Seniors at 7 years of age. Large dogs are considered Senior at 6 years of age.
  2. Senior pets are more susceptible to disease as they age. Diabetes, hyper or hypothyroidism, kidney disease, joint problems and yes even cognitive dysfunction.
  3. It is recommended that Senior Cats and Senior Dogs have a physical exam every 6 months and bloodwork annually. Many of the diseases mentioned above can be better controlled if discovered early.
  4. Senior diets are available especially for the nutritional requirements of your older pet. As they age their caloric requirements decrease as their activity slows down.
  5. Many Senior Pets have arthritis. Some common signs are slowing down, difficulty getting to a standing position, hesitant to walk up the stairs, sleeping more and even irritability.
  6. Incidence of cancer greatly increases as pets age. Lumps and bumps can start showing up on. Your Veterinarian can test theses lumps and monitor for cancer.
  7. Senior pets can get grey hair. Just like humans as pets’ age they can lose melanocytes or pigment in their hair follicles.
  8. As your pets age increases so does the amount of hours they spend sleeping. Dogs and cats on average sleep 14- 16 hrs a day, 18 -20 hours when they are seniors.
  9. Senior pets have an increased amount of dental disease. Regular dental exams and dental cleanings are recommended. Especially if they are having difficulty chewing their food.
  10. Senior pets are a wonderful addition to any family. If you want a quieter pet, who enjoys naps and cuddles a senior pet may be just for you. November is adopt a Senior Pet Month.

Debra Briton RVT