With continued improvement in veterinary care and available veterinary medicines, animals are living longer lives. This means that some diseases and conditions that were once rare are now more common in this older population. For example, older animals can face weight management challenges; mobility problems; osteoarthritis; conditions affecting the kidneys, heart, and liver; tumors and cancers; and disorders such as diabetes and thyroid imbalance. In other words, the changing health care needs of our pets parallel those of people. Older animals need special care. However, with preventative medicine many of these health challenges can be managed and progression can be slowed.

Senior Pet Issues

  • Pain
    • Licking or chewing an area
    • Eating less
    • Hiding more, being lethargic, or noticeable change in behavior
    • Crying when touched or not wanting to be touched
    • Panting, pacing, whining (when there is no obvious reason)
    • Increased heart rate (dogs: resting heart rate of over 130 bpm; cats: resting heart rate of over 200-220 bpm)
    • For cats a lack of grooming or self-care
  • Mobility Trouble
    • Having trouble getting up? Going up the stairs? Moving a little slower? Your pet could have arthritis. Talk with your veterinarian about the best arthritis pain relief options, we have several! See our at home remedies as well to keep your pet happy and comfortable at home.
  • Dementia & Loss of Senses
    • Having your pet lose their vision, hearing, or go senile is difficult. But, many senior pets do just fine with losing one or more of their senses. Some pets can experience anxiety when this begins. If so, work with your vet to find short-term solutions. Just be patient with your pet as they deal with these big changes.

      If senility is an issue, discuss with your vet the best option to help them function day to day. If your pet is deaf, you can teach her hand signals for sit, stay, and come. If your pet is blind, assisting your pet inside and outside on a shorter leash works well, also be sure to not make any major furniture changes as they can confuse them. They learn to adapt to the sensory loss and most do quite well.

  • Incontinence
    • Leaking urine while sleeping, urinating frequently or in inappropriate areas warrants a call to the vet. Rule out any medical issues, like a bladder infection, and then discuss options.
    • If there are no medical concerns, there are items you can purchase to help. For males they have male wraps to keep around their abdomen, and for females they have diapers.
  • Tumors
    • If you start to notice a mass growing, don’t delay in getting it checked out! It could be just a simple lipoma (fatty growth) or something more serious. But finding out early gives us a better chance to get it removed before spreading.
  • Organ Function Changes
    • As your pet gets older, their organ function may start to change. This can cause diabetes, thyroid imbalance, liver and kidney disease etc. Annual blood work is recommended to catch these changes early, and get your pet on the necessary supplement or medication to sow the progression.