Our pets are an important part of our lives. Watching them get older can be hard. Senior dog and cat care from our veterinarian can make your pets’ time with you happier and healthier. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about senior dog and cat care from our veterinarian at South Hall Veterinary Hospital in Oakwood, GA.
When does a pet become "old?"
Small dogs and cats are usually considered to be seniors at the age of seven. Larger dogs age more rapidly and are considered geriatric at age six. There are many formulas that relate pet years and people years, but it's rare for pets to live past the age of 20. The larger the animal, unfortunately, the shorter the lifespan.
What kinds of health problems affect senior dogs and cats?
Dogs and cats develop many of the same kinds of health issues later in life that humans do, including diabetes, cancer, joint problems, urinary tract issues, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, and senility. Older pets usually don't have the interest and energy for play that they did when they were younger, but ties between pets and their people only grow stronger.
What can I do to take good care of my senior pet?
Older pets need foods that are easily digested. They usually have issues with their teeth as well. Smaller cats and smaller dogs tend to have more tooth decay and gum disease than larger cats and larger dogs. They may need softer food, and they may need their food and water bowls elevated so they don't have to bend over to reach them.
Older cats may need special accommodations at their litter box so they can walk in instead of climbing in. Older dogs may need the same kind of potty-training equipment they needed as puppies.
Weight gain causes problems in older dogs. Weight loss is a bigger issue for older cats. It may be necessary to measure out your pet's food and to adopt a feeding schedule to stop overeating or to make sure your pet is eating.
Older pets usually aren't as mobile as younger pets. It can become important to keep all of the pet's activities on a single floor of the house so they don't have to go up and down stairs.
Older pets that have not been spayed or neutered may develop breast or testicular cancers. Taking even the healthiest senior pet to the vet once a year for a checkup can extend their life and health.
Our animal clinic in Oakwood, GA is here when your pets need us.
South Hall Veterinary Hospital is here to help call us at (770) 532-4449. The offices of South Hall Veterinary Hospital are located at 3750 Old Flowery Branch Road, Oakwood, GA, 30566.