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Senior Pets

  • Increased water intake is important for older cats, since they are prone to conditions that can cause dehydration and constipation. Use of canned food and using multiple water dishes can help increase water intake.
  • Dogs and cats are prone to debilitating ailments as they age, such as kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, dental disease, cancer and cognitive dysfunction. This is why regular visits are important!
  • Older cats often have a difficult time keeping their nails groomed. Cat nails can become very thick and overgrow into the skin. Check nails weekly and trim them once a month to prevent overgrowth and injury.
  • Does your older cat have a dull coat or is (s)he getting more mats and tangles? Arthritis may be the reason he is grooming less. Joint supplements like Dasuquin® can help reduce inflammation and keep your kitty flexible and comfortable.
  • Although cancer is a leading cause of death in older pets, it is also one of the most treatable diseases. Recent advancements in pet cancer treatment have led to high quality of life for years in many patients.
  • Because of their small size and natural agility, cats often hide pain. Studies show that 90% of cats over age 12 have evidence of arthritis on an X-ray.
  • Exercise helps your senior pet maintain a healthy body weight, as well as slow the degeneration of joints from arthritis. Walking is excellent exercise for your pet (and you)!
  • Genetics, nutrition and environment all play a role in determining when our pets reach senior status. Cats are considered senior at six to eight years of age.
  • Dogs, in general, are seniors at age seven, but larger dogs age faster. Large and giant breed dogs are seniors at age five.
  • Our pets are prone to debilitating ailments as they age, such as kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, dental disease and cancer. Regular visits are important for early detection.
  • You can help your pet live a longer, better quality life with regular veterinary care, including blood tests to screen for diseases often seen in older pets. Senior pets are advised to see a vet every six months.
  • Has your senior pet lost interest in food resulting in weight loss? A diagnostic test will help rule out any underlying health problems so they can be addressed before major issues develop.
  • Nutrient requirements for dogs and cats change as they age. For senior pets, reduced levels of phosphorus and sodium are important to maintain kidney and heart health.
  • Dogs and cats age faster than we do, so health problems can develop rapidly, especially in older pets. We want to detect small problems before they turn into major medical conditions.
  • Cats are masters at concealing their symptoms when they are sick. A good rule of thumb is to take your kitty to the vet once a year until she’s about eight or nine, and then start taking her twice a year.
  • An older less active pet may need fewer calories. Our doctors can design a weight plan that addresses your pet’s specific nutritional needs.
  • Just because your senior cat or dog is slowing down doesn’t mean you should stop playing with them. In fact, regular playtime stimulates aging animals’ brains and keeps them acting younger.
  • Dental care is just as important for pets as it is for us. Dental disease is painful and may make it difficult for your senior pet to eat. The first step is a veterinary exam and professional dental cleaning.
  • Warning signs to look for in senior pets are gaining/losing weight, disorientation, increased thirst/urination as well as lumps and bumps. Schedule a visit with one of our veterinarians to discuss them.
  • Hyperthyroidism is a common hormone-related illness affecting mostly older cats. Rapid weight loss, an increased appetite and often an increased activity level are common signs. It is treatable and is diagnosed with a simple blood test.
  • It’s normal for older pets to slow down as they reach senior status, but a sudden drop in physical activity could signal a painful condition. Ask your vet what type of physical activity would be best for your senior pet.
  • People are not the only ones who have to make certain changes and adjustments as they grow older. Our pets deserve the same attention: maintaining a healthy diet and exercise, as well as regular veterinary check-ups.
  • The risks of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hormone disorders, kidney and liver diseases all increase with age. Regular veterinary visits are important for early detection.
  • Animal shelters across the country are full of animals of all shapes, sizes, breeds and ages. Senior pets are typically the most difficult to place and often spend the most time in the shelter.
  • Some advantages of adopting a senior pet are: they know the rules, make less mess and are less destructive than young pets. Older pets can be great matches for seniors, or those who enjoy a less active lifestyle.
  • While puppies and kittens are adorable, with an older pet you see what you get and you know what to expect. Senior cats and dogs are fully grown, their personalities have developed, and many are already trained.
  • Adopting a grown-up pet can provide comfort in knowing you’re giving a home to an animal who may otherwise be overlooked. For many adopters, giving an older animal a home is an act of compassion.
  • Don’t assume loss of hearing in an older pet is just related to aging. It can also indicate other problems. Make sure to discuss this with your veterinarian.