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Senior Pet Month: Let’s Talk Aging Pets

A long, fulfilling life with our beloved companion is all we can hope for as pet parents. Pets provide a lifetime of entertainment and unconditional love. However, things begin to change once your pet reaches their golden years. As November is Senior Pet Month, let’s take the opportunity to discuss what we can expect from aging pets and how we can adapt as loving pet owners. 

Determining Senior Status 

The term senior is used to describe an aging pet. For large dogs, six years old is considered a senior. For small dog breeds, eight years old is senior. However, just because your pet is technically classified as a senior, does not mean they will immediately act like a senior. Their needs and behavior will not change overnight. Instead, their needs begin to evolve gradually, giving you ample time to prepare. 

Veterinary Visits for Senior Pets 

Just as senior humans often require more medical attention and checkups, senior dogs call for more frequent veterinary visits. As their mobility begins to slow, their metabolism changes, and their cognitive function decreases, your pet will require more hands-on veterinary care. It’s important to be proactive as your pet ages. Don’t wait until they begin displaying signs of age-related health concerns. Instead, schedule regular, semi-annual veterinary visits to ensure their health is consistently monitored, and they are up-to-date on any necessary vaccinations or medications. 

Common Senior Pet Health Conditions 

Age does not equate to illness. However, senior pets have a higher risk of developing several types of health concerns that are less prominent in younger animals. These conditions are often chronic and require diligent veterinary care to ensure the comfort and management of your pet’s health. Some common health concerns found in older pets include: 

  • Arthritis 
  • Dental disease 
  • Heart disease 
  • Cancer 
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease 
  • Canine cognitive dysfunction 
  • Neurological conditions 

How To Improve Your Pet’s Golden Years 

As your senior pet’s needs evolve, it’s important to reevaluate your pet care practices to accommodate them. To smooth your pet’s golden years, we recommend the following: 

  • Adjust your pet’s environment to accommodate their new mobility challenges.
  • Purchase an orthopedic pet bed to keep your pet comfortable.
  • Ensure your pet is on a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet.
  • Be consistent with your pet’s grooming needs.
  • Stay up-to-date with veterinary visits.

For more information on senior pets and how to appropriately care for their changing needs, contact your local veterinarian today.

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