Pets over the age of 7 years are considered senior citizens by veterinarians. They may slow down a bit in their energy level. They may sleep more, have more digestive problems and have difficulty eating because of dental issues. The heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver may not function as efficiently as they once did. When your pet enters this age bracket, you should begin to provide a bit more intensive care to ensure that he lives to a comfortable old age.
Common Problems Affecting Senior Pets
Senior pets begin to develop health problems that can impact their lifespan and ability to function normally. Joint and bone problems can occur that make the movement more difficult. Kidney and liver function may be affected. Heart problems can develop. Your pet can even develop problems with mental function that may cause him to become withdrawn or aggressive.
You may not notice any change in the animal’s physical condition, but the vet will be able to detect problems in the early stages through lab tests results and physical examination. That’s why regular visits to the veterinarian are so important for older animals.
How Your Veterinarian Can Help Age-Related Conditions
Your Overland Park veterinarian can offer a number of treatments for many age-related conditions in senior animals. Regular insulin injections can help animals that develop diabetes in their later years. Medications and surgery can help joint and bone conditions that cause pain and problems with mobility. Diet and medications can be used to treat kidney and liver diseases. If your pet develops a heart problem, new types of surgery and pharmaceutical therapies can help. A visit to your vet can find these problems and provide treatment to help your pet live longer, with greater functionality.
How You Can Help Your Senior Pet
Your veterinarian can recommend a number of tips for keeping your senior pet in good health. First, ensure your pet gets the nutrition he or she needs with a high-quality pet food. Help your pet get the exercise he needs with walks, playtime and regular interactions. Take your pet in for vet exams on a regular basis. If your pet develops a health problem, consult with your vet regularly about treatments and medications. Keep your pet warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. Finally, spend time with your pet, providing touch and companionship that he needs.
Consult Nall Hills Animal Hospital For Your Senior Pet’s Needs
Nall Hills Animal Hospital has the knowledge and experience pets need to make their senior years happy and healthy. We offer a wide range of services that include wellness examinations, spay and neuter surgery, flea and tick treatment, dental care, laser surgery, grooming services and boarding. We pride ourselves on gentle, compassionate care for all animals at every stage of life. Contact Nall Hills Animal Hospital in Overland Park, KS at 913-341-8836 for an appointment to discuss how you can provide the best care to help your pet enjoy his older years.
Senior Pet Care FAQs
Like humans, animals’ health needs change as they grow older. Older cats and dogs are more at risk for developing chronic health conditions like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, vision loss, deafness, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and even dementia. Equally, older dogs and cats typically don’t need as much exercise nor food, as their energy and activity level tends to be lower.
It’s normal for dogs and cats to do demonstrate different behaviors as they grow older. If you ever have a concern or question about your older pet, be sure to call your vet. We can carefully examine your animal to identify the underlying cause of any unusual or atypical symptoms, including:
- Limping and lameness
- Extreme lethargy
- Lumps, bumps, and skin issues
- Foul breath
- Loose or discolored teeth
- Disinterest in/difficulty eating food
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Uncharacteristic aggression or wandering
- An increase or decrease in water intake and/or urine treatment
Anyone of these signs or symptoms may indicate that your senior pet is in need of special veterinary care. Our team would be happy to work with you to determine the best course of action based on the results of our senior pet exam.
It really depends on your individual pet. We prefer to see every animal at least once a year to complete a thorough physical exam and blood work panel in order to ensure that the animal’s health is in good condition and to detect early warning signs of disease or illness. We encourage many pet owners of senior animals to bring their pets in more often, up to 2 times per year or more. This is especially important if your cat or dog has a known health condition. More frequent consultations with our Overland Park vet team will allow us to carefully monitor your pet’s health over time (which tends to change more quickly in senior dogs) and adjust treatment accordingly.
We offer a variety of services to pet your senior pet’s needs, including:
- Dental care
- Nutritional supplements and dietary recommendations
- Activity and exercise recommendations
- Pain treatment
- Medications to address acute and chronic illness