Senior Pet Care
Senior pets are the best. They know you well, and you know them well. They are smart and seasoned and worth their weight in gold. They’re also worth special care to keep them well and happy for as long as possible. With dogs, the age at which they reach senior status varies by breed and other factors, such as size. Cats are less variable than dogs in this regard, and tend to live longer than dogs. As both species age, the checkups they need change, and you’ll want to keep a good schedule.
Ages at which companion animals are considered seniors
Cats and dogs less than 20 pounds-9 years
Medium sized dogs 20-45 pounds-8 years
Large breed dogs-7 years
Giant breed dogs-6 years
How Often Should my Senior See the Veterinarian?
In general, it is recommended that a geriatric pet be examined by a Veterinarian every 6 months, rather than once a year like when they were younger. The reason for this is that the geriatric pet’s body begins to age more rapidly than when they were younger. It is also a good idea because as your pet gets older, certain diseases become more common, such as thyroid, kidney, and liver disease. Many of these diseases can be detected by a blood test, and can be either treated or managed to give your geriatric pet as good a quality of life as possible. Dental disease also becomes more common or gets worse as your pet ages, and during your visit with the Veterinarian, options for treating this problem can be discussed.
Age is not a disease! Any physical or behavioral changes in your senior pet that don’t seem normal should be checked out by your veterinarian. Aging signs are different between cats and dogs. Cats tend to hide signs of illness better than dogs, so paying closer attention to your senior cat becomes important in order to catch early signs of disease. It is also important to keep your younger animals at a healthy weight as they approach geriatric status, as studies have shown that pets who maintain a healthy weight can live up to 2 years longer than animals that are too heavy.
Geriatric pets are truly a treasure, and with a little extra TLC, their golden years can be as good as when they were younger. We at the Androscoggin Animal Hospital are here to help you navigate the sometimes uncertain path that is life with an older pet.