Raising and spending time with pets are some of life’s greatest joys, yet pets require special treatment and care to live long, healthy lives. Pets, especially cats and dogs, age more rapidly than humans do, and your pet could be a senior before you realize it. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, by the age of ten, a cat will have reached the equivalence of sixty human years, while a dog will have reached the equivalence of sixty to eighty human years in age (depending on their size). Due to pets growing and aging more rapidly, it is important to keep the following in mind when caring for a senior pet:
- Senior pets should visit their veterinarian every 6 months to better help prevent disease and injuries;
- Older dogs have issues gaining weight, while older cats have issues with weight loss;
- Senior pets are more susceptible to insects and infections;
- Older pets tend to need more exercise, and may a need special exercise regimen;
- Senior pets can have issues with joint health and thus could develop issues with areas of the home that have stairs; and,
- Two of the biggest health challenges that face senior pets are arthritis and cancer.
It is important to discuss your pet’s changing lifestyle with your veterinarian prior to making any changes in your pets schedule, activities, or environment. Additional information on caring for your senior pet can be found at the AVMA’s website.