Caring for Your Pet in Their Senior Years

Senior Pet Care Header
You’ll be delighted to know that your furry friends are living longer than ever before, thanks to advanced veterinary care and dietary habits.

But with an increased life expectancy comes a whole new set of age-related conditions, so it’s important to understand that as your pets age, their needs change, too.

Do you have an older pet? Are you aware of the common health problems that affect them in their later years? Find out in our blog and learn how you can accommodate their special requirements.

When is my pet considered senior?

This varies depending on your pet’s breed and size, but generally, when a pet has reached 50–75% of their anticipated life expectancy, then he or she can be considered geriatric.

In some larger breeds, such as the Newfoundland, this can be as early as 6 to 7 years old due to their average lifespan being 8 to 10 years.

Cats and small dogs are usually considered geriatric at the age of 7 to 10 years, and toy breeds, which often live for 16 years or more, are considered senior at 9 to 13 years old.

What kinds of health problems affect older pets?

As our adorable bundles of fur age with time, sadly, there are a number of different health problems which they may succumb to. Some of these conditions can be spotted at home, but others may require a visit to the vet for a more accurate diagnosis.

Here is a list of the most common health problems found in our senior pets:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney/urinary tract disease
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Joint or bone disease
  • Senility
  • Weakness

What warning signs should I look out for as my pet ages?

As your beloved pet gets older, they will exhibit some behaviour changes which serve as important indicators that something is changing. You play an important role in detecting these signs, and it’s important to pick up on these and report them to your vet as soon as possible.

  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Poor hair coat
  • Sore mouth
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blood in urine
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Soiling in the house

How do I help my pet stay happy and healthy for as long as possible?

  • Schedule regular visits with your local vet – every 6 months is advised
  • Choose the right diet – your vet will be able to advise you on the best diet to suit your pet’s needs
  • Regular exercise
  • Practice proper dental hygiene
  • Make sure their surroundings are safe
  • Provide mental stimulation
  • Give them lots of love and affection

How can we help?

Regular health checks with your vet will help to spot the signs of any health problems in the early stages (we are firm believers that prevention is better than cure!).

We strongly recommend you keep a close eye on any changes in their behaviour which may suggest something serious, and then call us for further advice or to book an appointment.  

You’ll also be pleased to know that selected Medivet practices offer FREE geriatric health checks. During this check, your vet will examine your pet’s temperature, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, gums and teeth, jaw conformation, skin, lymph glands, heart, lungs, abdomen, joints, muscles and external genitalia.

We also offer FREE urine screening for pets over eight years old, which allows us to detect any of the more common conditions seen in older pets, such as diabetes.

Simply contact your local Medivet practice today to find out if they offer FREE geriatric health checks and ask a member of the team for more information.

Posted September 6, 2016 by Cara Zaleski in Pet Care Advice

Share this post: