For the month of November, we look to honor our senior pets and raise awareness for giving them a little extra-special care and attention as they get up in years. If you’re wondering how old is old, the age at which a dog or cat is considered senior varies by size and breed, but on average a “senior” would include a pet seven years or older.
Our pets are living longer than ever before thanks to better care, and older pets often are able to enjoy happy, healthy, active lives, according to the AVMA . Even so, once they reach the senior category, it’s a good idea to be proactive and bring your pets in for wellness exams more often.
We recommend getting seen by your vet at least twice a year, so that any potential problems can be detected early, when they are usually less expensive and less difficult to treat. We also often recommend getting baseline bloodwork and x-rays done to keep on file, so that issues down the road are easier to identify. Of course, if you have questions or concerns in between check-ups, go ahead and give us a call at (619) 996-3335.
Physical signs of aging in dogs may include the following:
Cloudy eyes or worsening vision
Bad breath, which can indicate dental problems
Slowing down or decreased mobility
Bumps under the skin, that should get checked out by your vet
Weight loss or gain
Loss of house training or difficulty at potty time
Mental and behavioral signs of aging in dogs may be normal or could indicate an underlying problem. Sometimes sweet dogs become grumpy because of arthritis pain or active dogs start sleeping more. In some cases, senior dogs develop canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CCDS), a dementia that is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans and causes confusion, anxiety, fear and forgetfulness, according to the American Kennel Club. There is no cure for CCDS, but a discussion with your vet may lead to recommendations for certain medications and therapies that could help.
We all share a desire for our pets to have the best, most comfortable lives possible as they get older. And while it may be difficult to think about your pets getting older, keeping up with their medical health and looking for early signs of problems is one of the best ways you can help. If your senior pet hasn’t been in for veterinary care in the last six months or so, we hope to see you soon at our office.