Since our pets age much more rapidly than us humans, we should keep an eye out for any changes in older pets. Dogs typically over the age of 7 and cats over the age of 10 are considered “senior pets” and need different sets of nutrition, supplements, and care plans. Here are just a few of the medical conditions that we recommend keeping an extra eye out for in your senior canines and felines.
- Arthritis and other bone problems: A body in motion tends to stay in motion, but that can be difficult if your pet’s joints are inflamed due to arthritis or having other bone problems. Ask your veterinarian about joint supplements (like the daily vitamins we take) for your pet. Most come in tasty chews that many pets take like a treat!
- Kidney and Urinary Tract issues: Symptoms can range from urinary incontinence to painful or even bloody urination. If your golden oldie is experiencing changes in his urinary habits, it can be a sign of more serious conditions. When taking your pet to the vet, try to prevent your pet from urinating right before so that your veterinarian can collect a sample for testing. Some pets highly benefit from special prescription diets that promote renal health.
- Cancer: The most vague of all medical issues as cancer can occur in nearly any part of your pet’s body and both symptoms and treatment plans vary greatly depending on the location and type of cancer.
- Thyroid imbalances: Hypothyroidism can be very common in older pets and can lead to weight gain, lethargy, hair loss, even sores on the skin. To treat hypothyroidism, your pet will be on daily thyroid supplements and routine blood tests will be done to monitor the changes.
- Diabetes: After running blood and urine tests to determine if your pet is diabetic, your pet will need insulin injections on a daily basis and regular blood work to monitor blood sugar levels. Diabetes can be very difficult to treat in pets, as many owners are hesitant to give their pets injections and many pets don’t appreciate being poked and prodded at home. That being said, diabetes CAN be managed in pets, but it will take a bit of practice!
- Senility: That’s right, our pets can get senile just like your great-aunt Myrtle. Help prevent this by providing mentally stimulating challenges (that are fun, not frustrating). Also, some pets benefit with changes in diet to products like Purina Bright Mind or by adding an antioxidant supplement like VetriScience ResveraFlex.
We hope that every pet is able to live a long and healthy life; remember that having 2 physical exams for your senior pet each year can help catch any of these conditions in the early stages. Do you have a senior pet with one (or more) of these conditions? Let us know in the comments below!