Senior Pet Care
Is My Pet Considered A Senior?
Our pets are now living longer, healthier lives than ever before due to advancements in veterinary medicine and nutrition. The lifespan of your pet varies by breed, size, and environmental factors. Your veterinarian is the best source for determining the stage of life of your four legged friend.
The Golden Years: General Rule Of Thumb
Small Breed Dog: 7 years or older
Large Breed Dog: 6 years or older
Cats: 11 years or older
Dogs and cats age much quicker than people, and contrary to popular belief, the rule of "7 dog years = 1 human year" is far from accurate. The AVMA provides the following calculations to help put a pet's age in human terms:
Caring For Your Senior Pet
As your pet ages, they become more susceptible to a variety of diseases including:
- Joint and bone issues including arthritis
- Heart disease
- Kidney and urinary issues
- Liver problems
- Generalized weakness
- Senility (memory problems)
At Countryside, our goal is to help you recognize and manage these health issues or problems in order to prolong your pet's quality of life.
What To Expect At Your Senior Pet's Appointment
At your senior pet's visit, our veterinarian is going to examine your dog or cat over, from nose to tail. They will typically begin by examining their overall body condition, followed by a thorough oral exam. During the oral exam, the veterinarian will be looking for any signs of dental disease including swollen gums (or gingivitis), dental tartar, plaque or tooth decay. Your pet’s exam will also include listening to their heart and lungs, checking for any unusual signs/symptoms, and checking for skin, coat, eye and ear problems. Diet and nutritional counseling will also be a part of your senior pet's exam.
If our veterinarian comes across something unusual or they suspect an underlying condition, further diagnostic testing or lab work will most likely will be recommended. Routine annual diagnostic lab work is recommended on any senior patient in order to help our veterinarians identify what values are currently normal or if there have been any changes since the prior year. Our veterinarians are always happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your aging pet during their exam.
Signs Your Senior Pet May Have A Problem
- Increased thirst or urination
- Loss of bladder control
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Bad breath, excessive drooling or panting
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Lumps or changes in areas of skin color
- Limping, lameness, or trouble getting up
- Abdominal swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Disorientation & increased wandering
- Changes in sleep cycles