Senior Pet Care
Our pets’ needs and problems change as they grow older. The risk of various illnesses and disorders increases, with wide variance across species and breed types. Bodhi Animal Hospital can help you understand the challenges and responsibilities that come with senior pet care and help you make the most of the time spent with your pet later in life.
How Old Is A “Senior” Pet?
Generally, cats and small dogs are considered elderly by the time that they turn 7 years old (in animal years, this translates into the mid–40’s for both). Since larger dogs usually have shorter lives, 6 years old is considered the senior age.
Health Issues of Senior Pets
Common health problems that senior pets experience include:
- Heart disease
The risk of these and other health problems increases in senior dogs with weight gain. In senior cats, weight loss is a more common issue.
The nutritional needs of pets can change as they age; they’ll typically need different amounts of calories and nutrients. Older dogs, for instance, will often need fewer calories and more fiber in their diets to compensate for decreased metabolism. Not reducing calorie levels in a dog’s diet could lead to obesity, which could leave the animal at risk of developing some of the health problems listed above. Senior dogs will usually need more water as well to stay properly hydrated.
Since older pets usually have weaker immune systems, their vaccination and parasite prevention needs can also change. It’s a good idea to start bringing senior pets in for check-ups twice a year rather than once. Bodhi Animal Hospital can conduct several tests in our in-house laboratory to ensure that animals stay healthy even in their later years.