Caring for senior pets has some different challenges than a younger dog or cat. Just like people, pets can develop limitations as they age. Senior pets, whether they’ve been in your home since they were puppies, or have been recently adopted, make wonderful pets.
Achieving “senior” status is different for each size of dog or cat. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats and small dogs are considered senior at age seven while larger breeds can be considered old at age five or six.
Senior pets may experience some additional health concerns, including arthritis, and hearing or vision loss. Arthritis is a common ailment for pets as they age. Be mindful of limping, or if your pet has trouble standing or sitting. If your senior pet is having issues getting up and down, or seems like they are in pain, make adjustments like giving them a low bed, and food and water bowls.
Depending on a dog’s weight, diabetes can become a concern. As cats age, they may develop issues with their kidneys and diabetes. Watch for any changes in your pet’s weight and contact Cimarron Animal Hospital with these changes.
Older pets may also have trouble with harder kibble. Pet food formulated for senior dogs and cats will be easier for them to chew and will be fortified with the kinds of nutrients they need to support joint health. Talk to your veterinarian about which foods and supplements would be beneficial.
Your senior pet still needs exercise to stay healthy. You may need to make adjustments to adapt to their physical needs, but helping your pet stay mobile is important.
Unfortunately, senior pets are often left in shelters and not adopted. Many people don’t understand the benefits of owning a senior pet. Often these pets are already housebroken and are more mellow than younger dogs or cats. While they may have some additional physical needs, they are easier to handle than younger pets.
If you have an older pet, be sure to discuss their changing medical needs with the veterinarian. With some extra care, your senior pet will enrich your life for years to come.
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