As pets age, they undergo changes in their health and diet that require planning. Older dogs or cats may become more susceptible to illnesses, necessitating more frequent visits to the Animal Clinic of Honolulu for checkups with the veterinarian. Clients often raise questions about senior pet care, and we're here to address some of the most common inquiries we encounter concerning older pets.
When Does My Pet Become a Senior?
The age at which a pet is considered a senior can slightly differ between dogs and cats. Generally, dog breeds weighing under 50 pounds are considered to enter their senior years around age 7. For larger dogs weighing over 50 pounds, their senior years begin around age 6 due to their shorter lifespans. As for cats, they typically enter their senior phase sometime between 7 and 10 years of age.
How Can I Identify Health Issues in My Senior Pet?
You know your pet better than anyone, which is why it's crucial to be vigilant about behavior changes as your pet ages. Behavior changes are often their way of communicating a problem. For instance, sudden alterations in eating, sleeping, toileting, or other patterns might indicate an underlying health issue. Older dogs and cats are more prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Both cats and dogs can develop arthritis with age, often due to natural wear and tear on their knee and hip joints. Reduced agility could stem from joint problems. Dental, vision, and hearing problems are also more prevalent in senior pets. Similar to humans, senior pets can experience personality changes as they may develop dementia.
How Frequently Should My Senior Pet Visit the Veterinarian?
Once your pet reaches its senior years, it's advisable to schedule checkups twice a year. Early detection is crucial in addressing any illnesses or issues that may arise due to aging. If your pet is diagnosed with a chronic health condition requiring ongoing management, your veterinarian may recommend more frequent visits to monitor progress.
How Can I Ensure the Well-being of My Senior Pet?
Due to wear and tear on teeth, transitioning to a diet of softer canned food rather than dry kibble may be necessary for senior pets. Nutrient adjustments in their diet might also be recommended. Additionally, provide a comfortable pet bed and access to clean, fresh water. Engaging in gentle exercise each day is important to maintain their well-being.
Connect with Our Veterinarians at Animal Clinic of Honolulu
For inquiries about senior pet care, reach out to Animal Clinic of Honolulu to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced veterinarians. We're here to ensure your senior pets receive the care they need for a healthy and happy life.