Senior Pet Care and Wellness For Your Aging Pet
Everyone wants their pet to live forever; however, many breeds of dogs are considered to be senior by around age six, and cats by age 11. While specifics vary for dogs and cats depending upon the breed, there are many factors that play into how pets age and what their quality of life will be.
Enhancing Pet Longevity
One of the most important factors in pet longevity is regular vet visits, routine testing and preventative care. Veterinary care has advanced right along with medical care for humans, and there are a number of interventions available now that weren’t even a couple decades ago.
More accurate diagnostics and less invasive treatments add up to the potential for longer, happier lives. Regular visits to your veterinarian in Gardner are a key component of pet longevity. In addition to flea prevention, tick prevention and administering flea medication, a range of important tests can be conducted.
Senior Pet Life Stages
While the senior phase of life starts around age six for dogs and 11 for cats on average, this can vary depending upon a number of factors, including breed. Cats tend to live much longer than dogs and can in some cases live to 20 years old or more. Smaller dog breeds tend to live longer than larger ones. Life span can vary widely in dogs, from seven to around 15 years.
Signs of Illness
The senior period of life marks the beginning of physical decline that is a hallmark of older age. In some cases, cognitive and sensory function can start to decline. Organ functioning and immune responses can also be affected. This is a time of life when the risk of diseases and health issues rises. Just as with humans, animals become prone to arthritis, kidney or liver issues, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
However, aging is a complex process influenced by genetics, nutrition, environmental factors, stress levels and lifestyle. The best way to approach senior pet health issues is with an eye on developing symptoms. Regular visits to your veterinarian in Gardner and Olathe veterinarian can help to ensure these issues are diagnosed early so that they can be treated and quality of life can be maintained.
Some of the signs of common senior health issues include:
• Weight loss
• Decreased appetite
• Increased thirst
• Changes in expelling waste
• Sudden lumps or swelling
• Persistent cough
• Lethargy or weakness
• Breathing problems
• Confusion/impaired motor skills
While slowing down somewhat in all areas is a normal part of the aging process, the symptoms listed here can also be signs of a more serious issue.
Regular wellness exams are the best defense against serious disease. This way, signs and symptoms can be caught early so that proper treatment can be undertaken. Your Gardner veterinarian Oakbrook Animal Hospital recommends that senior pets receive a comprehensive exam every six months to ensure quality of life and longevity.
We also recommend all pets have a Senior Profile (complete blood count, serum chemistry and a urinalysis) done annually starting at the age of seven to help with early detection of any upcoming issues. Contact your Gardner veterinarian Oakbrook Animal Hospital today for more information.