Village Animal Clinic

My Pet Is A Senior!

Our pets are living longer and healthier lives, and as responsible pet owners, we need to educate ourselves as to what changes to look for as our pets get older.   A lot of people notice their pet slowing down on walks, not wanting to greet them at the door, or changes in their appetite.  Often, these behaviours are a result of physiological changes that can be helped by diet, nutraceuticals or medications.

Pets can get arthritis, which is a complex condition involving inflammation of the joints.  This can cause dogs to slow down on their walks, have trouble getting up and down stairs and be painful when sitting or standing from a sit position.  Cats can have arthritis too.  They may not want to jump up on things or they may have accidents in the house because they find it hard to get to (or to get in and out of) the litter box.  For both cats and dogs, there are many treatment options available.  Your veterinarian will be able to help you find a treatment or combination of treatments that will work for your pet, and improve quality of life.

Have you noticed changes in your pet’s habits or behavior?  Most pet owners do not discuss behavior changes with their veterinarians since they feel these changes are a normal part of aging.  Many problems have an underlying medical cause.  Behaviours such as disorientation, increased anxiety, restlessness at night and decreased social interaction are changes you may notice in your senior pet.  There are different options for treatment that may help your pet. Environment modification, diets and natural health products can give your pet’s brain a boost and help alleviate these behaviours.

Changes in appetite and thirst can be an indication of many different problems.  Obesity, and conversely, emaciation, occurs slowly over time and sometimes we don’t notice the changes because it is so gradual.  An increase in thirst can be an indication of disease such as diabetes, kidney disease or Cushing’s disease. To keep your senior in check, it is important to do routine blood and urine screening. Monitoring these values helps your pet’s health care team provide good preventive care.

It is important to monitor your senior pet’s health closely; every human year is seven in their world!  Our pets bring so much joy to our lives so let’s work together to improve their quality of life as they get older. Discuss with your veterinarian any changes you and your family have noticed in your pet, and be proactive as preventative action can help avert problems in the future.

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