At Short Pump Animal Hospital, our Glen Allen, VA vet is committed to providing pets with the quality and compassionate care they deserve at every stage of life. If you have an aging pet, it's important to be aware of the different types of preventative care that will be required to help your pet age gracefully, as well as the signs of common medical problems to watch for in your pet's older age.
When is a Pet Considered a Senior?
Thanks to advancements in veterinary technology and the fact that pet owners are now caring for their pets better than ever, the life expectancy of a pet today is much higher than it was a few decades ago. So, just when is a pet considered to be a senior, anyway? This varies depending on the type of pet you have and its size, breed, and other factors.
Generally, dogs and cats are considered senior once they reach around the age of 7. However, larger dogs age more quickly, whereas smaller dogs may not really be senior until closer to age 9. An indoor cat has a longer average lifespan than an outdoor cat, so you may not have an indoor senior cat until it reaches closer to 11 years of age.
Preventative Care for Your Senior Cat or Dog
As a pet owner, of course you want your senior cat or dog to age gracefully. There are plenty of steps you can take to protect your pet's health and wellness as they reach senior age. For starters, make sure you're bringing your pet in for more frequent health and wellness exams in our office. While most adult healthy pets should have an annual wellness exam, more comprehensive exams are recommended twice a year for senior pets to stay on top of changes in their health.
In addition to more frequent exams, this may also be a good time to re-visit your pet's nutrition and make sure he or she is getting the right formula for his or her changing needs.
Watching Out for Signs of Illness
Finally, make sure to watch out for common signs of age-related illness in our pet. There are a few specific symptoms that can be very telling, such as:
- Sudden changes in weight or loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
- Bumps or lumps on the body
- Changes in urine or stool habits
- Unexplained increase in thirst
- Overall lack of energy or change in behavior
If you spot any of these symptoms in your pet, it's important that you schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Schedule an Appointment for Your Senior Dog or Cat
Caring for your senior dog or cat is especially important, so make sure you have a vet you trust. You can schedule an appointment with our Glen Allen vet here at Short Pump Animal Hospital by calling us at (804) 360-0100.