At Brookside Barkery, we know pets aren’t just pets — they are a part of the family. As your pet ages, it is important to consult your veterinarian for help providing the proper care for your senior pet’s changing needs.
Every animal is different, so the senior life stage occurs at different ages in different pets. For instance, dogs are typically considered seniors at seven years old, but large dogs age more quickly than smaller dogs. Cats can be considered mature at seven years and seniors at 11 years old. Breed and species aside, your pet’s genetics, nutrition, health and environment will ultimately determine when your pet is considered a senior.
One of the telltale signs of increasing age in pets is a decline in physical activity. For instance, previously active pets may not play as much, and both dogs and cats may need assistance climbing on and off the bed or couch. Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), explained when pet owners can expect this transition into senior pet behavior. “A decrease in physical activity depends on the breed, size and genetics of the pet,” she said. “However, some older pets are still quite active in their senior years.”
In addition to a decrease in physical activity, older cats and dogs tend to develop more degenerative health problems. “Chronic degenerative disorders like heart and kidney disease are common in older pets, and so is cancer,” Eckman said. “In cats, kidney, heart and thyroid disease are the most common aging conditions. In dogs, different breeds are more prone to certain conditions. For example, some breeds are more likely to see a dramatic increase in cancers as they age.” A visit to the veterinarian every six months can help determine what is normal for your pet so that any changes in behavior or health can be detected early.
Aging cats and dogs are also prone to arthritis, dental disease, loss of sight and hearing, and a decrease in mobility. Just like humans, pets may need more assistance getting around and taking care of themselves. Despite this change in mobility and physical activity, it is important to keep your dog and cat active to slow the progression of joint pain and arthritis. In addition, a healthy diet that adequately nourishes your pet is also key in reducing your pet’s risk for obesity, which can also contribute to joint pain. “The single most important aspect in helping your pet stay as happy and healthy for as long as possible is maintaining a healthy weight throughout their lifetime,” Eckman said. “A healthy weight should be coupled with regular exercise and activity.”
The Barkery has everything you need to keep your older pet happy and healthy! Everything from all natural pet food, to dental care, supplements, joint treatments and more! Stop by either our Brookside or Lee’s Summit locations and pick up everything you need to keep your older pet feeling young.
*Thanks Moderncat.com for the advice!