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Is your dog or cat a senior pet?

Cats begin transitioning into the senior years around 8 years of age. For dogs, size and breed play a major role in determining the start of the senior years. In general, we consider dogs as seniors around 7 years of age.

Did you know certain problems can be managed more effectively if caught early?

  • Common senior canine conditions: Arthritis, heart disease, low thyroid, kidney disease, diabetes, glaucoma, cancer
  • Common senior feline conditions: Hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer

Have you noticed any of these changes in your senior pet? If so, be sure to discuss them with one of our veterinarians.

  • Mobility changes (difficulty jumping, climbing stairs, playing, rising)
  • Excessive panting
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Changes in bathroom habits or accidents in the house
  • Appetite change (increased or decreased)
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Gastrointestinal issues (including constipation)
  • Hearing loss
  • Eye changes (Vision changes, cloudy eyes)
  • Bad breath
  • Poor grooming habits
  • Skin changes (including lumps)
  • Behavior changes
  • Vocalization changes

Lawndale Veterinary Hospital recommends routine senior wellness exams and diagnostic screening to catch problems early.

  • Many diseases can be managed with targeted nutrition, lifestyle modifications, or medications.
  • Managing problems early and effectively can work to extend your pet’s life as well as enhance your pet’s quality of life.
  • We offer a discounted geriatric work-up that includes:
    • Physical exam
    • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
    • Blood Chemistry analysis
    • Thyroid testing
    • Urinalysis
    • Chest radiographs
    • Electrocardiogram
    • Glaucoma testing (for dogs)
    • Blood pressure screening (for cats)
  • Lawndale wants to work together with you to help your senior pet stay as healthy and happy for as long as possible!

There are many things you can do to keep your senior pet as healthy as possible:

Wellness Care:

  • Monitor for signs of problems at home. Have your pet examined if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.
  • Routine wellness exams and labwork are important for health monitoring and early problem detection. 

Prevention Measures:

  • Vaccination needs can change, so talk with our team about vaccine strategies. 
  • Continue heartworm, intestinal parasite, flea, and tick preventive products.

Nutrition / Healthy Weight:

  • Feed a senior diet that balances the lower calorie requirements of seniors with components to support immune function, digestibility, vitality, and palatability.
  • Keep senior pets at a healthy weight through calorie monitoring and regular exercise. Aging, overweight animals may be at increased risk for health problems such as diabetes and arthritis. Studies have shown that leaner pets live longer. 

Oral Health:

  • Continue to incorporate home dental care into your pet’s daily routine. Options might include tooth brushing, dental treats, or prescription dental diets. Remember, once periodontal disease develops, it can lead to oral infections, pain, tooth loss, or even systemic problems.  

Behavioral Health:

  • Senior pets need enrichment too! Offer things such as play opportunities, one-on-one time, exercise, rotation of toys, healthy treats, and visual stimulation in the environment.

Comfort:

  • Aging pets can benefit from softer, thicker bedding for sleeping.
  • Arthritic pets may need ramps, and arthritic cats can benefit from lower litter box openings.
  • Place food and water bowls in areas that can be reached easily.
  • Uncarpeted surfaces can be slippery. Try using rugs and runners.

‚ÄčAuthor: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS