Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, our pets are living longer, healthier lives. However, with this longer lifespan comes the increased risk for conditions that can affect our older pets. A few of the ailments that can be problematic to our older friends can include arthritic issues; kidney, heart, and liver disease; cancer; thyroid imbalances; diabetes; among others.
The life span of your pet will typically depend on their breed. Generally, smaller breeds live longer than larger breeds, and cats live longer than dogs. Remember that giant breeds can be classified as seniors as young as the age of five, but smaller breeds may be considered senior at the age 10-13 years. Every year for your dog or cat is equivalent to 5-7 human years. Your Pawz veterinarian is the best source for more information to determine what life stage your pet is in.
As our pets get older, owners may notice them “slowing down.” This can include the apparent gradual loss of hearing or sight, cognitive or memory issues, slower getting up, and difficulties going up and down stairs. Other possible signs that your furry friend may be having some health issues include, weight gain or loss, inappropriate urination/defecation, sudden weight loss or gain, increase or decrease in appetite, hair loss, lameness or weakness just to name a few.
Regular veterinary examinations are one of the most important steps to detect problems early and potentially delay the onset or progression of diseases. We recommend that healthy senior dogs and cats should be seen by their Pawz veterinarian every 6 months to a year. A senior health exam will include a thorough physical exam, possible blood work, and a series of questions for you as the owner to answer about your pets changes in activity or behavior. It is vital for pet owners to work closely with their Pawz veterinarian to create the best plan for the health of their senior pet as they age.