It is tough to think about, but just like humans, your pets will inevitably age. As your pets age, so will their behaviours and needs, over time. As this happens, it is important to watch for certain changes in your pets to help keep them healthy, happy, and comfortable. Check below as we share some helpful tips for caring for your senior pet at home. Almost all Edmonton pet parents and professionals can use these tips to take care of their senior pets.
Signs To Watch For With Your Senior Pet
Eye, Vision, And Hearing Changes
Vision changes are one of the most common things that you will notice as your pet ages. Cataracts are probably the most well-known condition as it is also pretty common in humans. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes opaque as it progresses, which can cause reduced vision and even complete blindness. Ever have an experience where you feel like your pet is more anxious or less able to see in the dark? Changes to your pet’s retina can result in diminished night vision due to the degeneration of rod cells that are responsible for processing light. Same thing with hearing, as your pet ages their ability to hear higher frequencies start to diminish. If you suspect that your pet is experiencing changes with their vision or hearing, we recommend seeing your veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment options.
Changes Associated With Mobility
Arthritis is also quite common among older dogs and cats. Because arthritis mostly affects joints and can cause pain, stiffness, limping, or lameness, maintaining a healthy body weight is important. Check with your veterinarian for the correct diagnosis and treatment options that can help manage your pet’s ailments. Since older pets are typically less active than younger pets, they tend to lose muscle mass. The loss of muscle tone can eventually make simple movements like sitting, walking/running, jumping, and playing, difficult for your pets or even painful.
Changes In Behaviour
There are different ways that age can impact your senior pets. Some pet owners will notice that their pets are less enthusiastic when it comes to greeting people or going for walks. Pups can be affected by Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, where your dog may seem disoriented, confused, forgetful, or anxious. We recommend that if you do notice any behavioural changes in your pets, write them down and contact your veterinarian to discuss these changes.
Does your senior pet have bad breath, plaque build-up, inflamed gums, and or have loss of appetite? That could be a potential indicator that your pet is experiencing dental issues like decay, which can lead to more serious problems like infection. Again, it is important to get your pet’s dental health checked by a veterinarian regularly and as soon as you notice changes.
Older pets tend to have more bathroom accidents simply because their muscles that are responsible for controlling excretions become weaker as they age. Hormonal changes can also be a factor in urinary incontinence. Your senior pup may require more frequent walks throughout the day so that they can relieve themselves more often, with lower chance of having an accident.
Regular Veterinary Check-Ups
It is essential to take your pets to the vet for regular check-ups. For most pets, once a year is often sufficient, but for a senior pet, it is recommended they go for a check-up every six months. Or more often, depending on their condition. A vet can offer the best recommendations regarding diet, exercise, medication, behavioural changes, and treatments. Moreover, regular visits can help to catch, overcome, and potentially prevent some health-related problems.
How Can We Help?
We spend a decent amount of time with your pets and can often spot changes, both physically and behaviourally. Our team of joggers make a point to include things that may have seemed different or odd in their service updates. Some may call us crazy, but sending concerning poop pictures is a regular occurrence for us! As one of Edmonton’s largest dog walking companies, we also think it’s important to have our joggers, pet first aid certified. The skills and knowledge gained help our team better recognize and deal with health emergencies. COVID has prolonged the plan to certify every team member but we are working on it!
Let us know you have any questions or even if you want to share your story about your senior pet. We would love to hear about your experience!