Common Health Concerns in Senior Pets and What You Can Do
Advancements in veterinary medicine have been helping pets live longer lives. While everyone wants as much time as possible with their pets, living longer means that our pets are more commonly encountering age-related diseases. As pets age, they can develop chronic systemic health problems that will need to be managed on an ongoing basis to ensure the pet’s health, happiness, and comfort during their golden years.
Common Health Problems in Older Pets
Some of the most common health concerns that affect pets as they age include:
The symptoms of these concerns can vary greatly. Most commonly, the first outward sign of illness in a pet is behavior changes. If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior, routine, appetite, energy level, personality, or appearance, we encourage you to schedule an exam right away.
When Does a Pet Become a Senior?
Cats are typically considered seniors at age 10. The age at which a dog becomes a senior varies based on their size:
How to Keep Your Senior Pet Healthy
As pets age, they are at an increasingly higher risk of developing a health problem. That’s why we recommend modifying your pet’s care once they are officially considered senior. Typically, this modified Senior Pet Care includes more frequent (usually biannual) veterinary examinations in addition to routine health screenings with laboratory tests including blood work and urinalysis. These more frequent examinations and health screenings are intended to ensure our veterinarians detect the earliest signs of age-related disease. This means we can begin treatment as soon as possible, often before a pet even develops noticeable symptoms. With early intervention, the progress of many age-related diseases can be halted or slowed, helping pets stay healthier and happier for longer.
We also might recommend adjusting your senior pet’s diet and adding health supplements to more appropriately meet their changing caloric and nutritional needs.