Because of advances in medical and veterinary care, pets live a better quality of life and significantly longer. One of the issues that do arise is that animals and their owners face new types of age-related illnesses.
When a Pet Is Considered Old
Because of the different types of pets, the geriatric age varies. However, cats and smaller dogs face their golden years at the age of seven. Larger canines live a shorter life span and hit their older years at about age six.
Older Pets and Health Issues
Pets in their later years face the same health issues that older humans do, such as:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Weakness in limbs and body
- Kidney disease
- Bone and joint disease
Caring Considerations for Senior Pet Care
Preparing for a pet’s older years takes communication with a veterinarian. Age-related conditions require more attention, possible dietary changes, and preparation of environmental changes.
- Nutrition and Diet: Calorie levels, nutrient changes, and elder-friendly ingredients are part of an aging pet’s diet.
- Weight Control: Geriatric animals risk health problems due to weight.
- Mobility: Maintaining mobility is important for older pets. Exercise becomes more critical the older an animal is.
- Vaccinations: Vaccination regiments change as animals age. Always check with a veterinarian.
- Mental Wellness: Like humans, the older a pet gets, the more likely they are to develop memory problems. Stimulation keeps a decline in mental health at bay.
- Reproductive Diseases: Any animal, even exotic pets, which are not spayed or neutered, are at risk for reproductive cancers.
- Parasites: Immune systems are not what they were when a pet was young. Fighting off even common parasites gets harder.
- Environmental changes: Avoiding stairs, more time indoors, and possibility disabilities are taken into consideration the older a pet gets.
Red Flags in Older Pets
Visiting a vet before an emergency is best when a pet is approaching their older years. It keeps unexpected behavioral changes from catching anyone off guard and lessens the risk of having to visit an animal hospital for emergencies.
Changes in Behavior:
- Increases irritability
- Sudden loss of house training
- Confusion, disorientation, increased anxiety, aggression
- Jumpy towards sounds, decreased response to commands
- Change in vocalization, increase or decrease
- Changes in sleep cycles
Senior Pet Care at City Vets in Pittsburgh
Serving the South Side and Greater Pittsburgh area, we at City Vets strive to care for your elderly pets and prepare you for their golden years. City vets is an affordable animal hospital and vet-care office for cats, dogs, and exotic pets.