We’ve all heard the equation “One dog year equals seven human years” and while that may be a catchy calculation, it isn’t accurate. A one-year-old dog is an adult; a seven-year-old child is not.
It is more accurate to say that if the average dog lives 12-13 years, then a seven year old dog is considered ‘senior.’ Just like humans, as he ages, a dog begins to exhibit subtle difficulties in multiple areas. He relies on you to notice and get him the treatment he needs.
- Changes in the senses: Hearing loss, cloudy eyes, diminishing sense of smell, confusion, pacing, irritability and sleep pattern changes can all be natural signs of aging.
- Digestive Problems: Tummy troubles like constipation, diarrhea, gas and vomiting can all be signs your pet is aging, but should be checked by a vet, just in case.
- Changing nutritional needs: Your dog may be less active as he ages, so his risk of obesity rises. Overweight dogs are more susceptible to diabetes, so check with your vet to make sure you are not overfeeding your aging pet.
- Musculoskeletal Problems: Arthritis plagues many senior dogs. From a mild stiffness to constant pain, the wear and tear on legs, hips and spine can make motion uncomfortable or even painful. Your vet can help you learn how to help your pet; simple accommodations and even medication can help.
- Urinary problems: Besides the ‘accidents’ that can happen from a weakening bladder, kidneys are can sometimes begin to fail in senior canines.
Aging in Cats
Felines, particularly indoor cats, live an average of 12-18 years, some even longer. While cats can suffer from all the effects of aging listed above, they may also experience:
- Skin, hair and nail problems. Their coats become dull, thin, and their nails may become brittle.
- Loss of ability to regulate body temperature.
- Cats may groom less and demonstrate behavior changes due to a decreased ability to tolerate stress. They may also become more vocal and less interested in human interaction.
Growing older is an inevitable part of life, but discomfort doesn’t have to be part of that process. Screenings and checkups are essential to keeping your senior pet healthy and happy as they enter their ‘golden’ years. We are dedicated to helping you achieve that goal. Call us at any time you need help for your senior pet; prompt attention to ailments is essential to his good health.