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November 2018

Our veterinarians are dedicated to enhancing the well-being of senior pet dogs and cats by advocating for early detection of abnormalities (bloodwork and radiographs), routine examinations (at least two a year), and appropriate lifestyle changes to optimize their health in their golden years.

At what age is my pet considered a Senior Pet?

For most dog breeds the term “senior” applies when they are > 7 yrs of age. 

For cats, the term “senior” applies when they are > 10 years of age.

Our pets are living longer than ever before and it is our responsibility as pet guardians to ensure that they are happy and healthy during their golden years.  The following is a list of a few changes that you can expect as your pet ages. 

Decreased Energy: As pets age, their activity level will likely slow down, however, we encourage that your pet gets routine low impact activity such as walking per day.

Slower Sensory Response: As pets age, their sense of smell, sight, hearing, and taste may become dull. Routine training and playing can heighten their senses and keep them sharper for a longer period of time. Decrease sense of sight can be a major problem and may be a sign of glaucoma in dogs or high blood pressure in cats – these conditions can be diagnosed during a routine senior pet examination and diagnostic screening.

Arthritis: Both dogs and cats get arthritis which is an age-related change and is expected in senior pets. Pain and discomfort from arthritis can be managed in many different ways such as pain medication, acupuncture, and joint support supplements.

Lumps and Bumps: Growths on the skin are a common age-related change in both cats and dogs. Some growths are benign while others may pose serious health risks. Routine physical examination and a discussion about the management of these growths with your veterinarian will ensure that your aging pet stays healthy longer.

Inappropriate Elimination: Talk to your vet if your pet experiences sudden incontinence issue which could be a symptom of more serious illness such as kidney disease, bladder infection, diabetes etc. Routine senior screening bloodwork and urine testing will ensure that these problems are detected as early as possible.

Risk of Obesity: Senior dogs and cats have lower caloric intake requirements than younger pets. Therefore, along with their decreased activity, emerging arthritis, and lower caloric needs senior pets are most at risk of becoming overweight or obese. Setting up a custom senior pet nutrition and diet plan can be done with your veterinarian during a routine checkup.

Dental Disease: Pets get toothaches too. Veterinarians recommend that dogs and cats get their teeth brushed daily and have a routine dental cleaning under anesthesia once a year. It is important to keep up with this recommendation in order to keep their mouths as healthy as possible as they age.

Senior Pet Screening Recommendations: It is recommended that a senior pet has an examination by their veterinarian twice a year. Changes in your pets behavior and habits as they age aren’t always a symptom of getting older sometimes it’s a symptom of an emerging disease. Early detection is imperative, as there are plenty of treatment options for many diseases and problems if they are detected early enough.  You are your pet’s loudest voice and best advocate.

Adopting a Senior Pet:  Adopting a senior pet is a noble act and a commitment to take care of them as they get older. It provides you with the stability of having a mature pet, who is likely potty trained and has a lower energy level compared to a puppy/kitten.  Getting to know your senior pet is important so that changes in their behavior can be detected early and may be life-saving.

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