We all get older. Most large breed dogs are considered “senior” by the age of 7 years old, and smaller dogs and cats by the time they’re 10.
Our older furry friends need even more care as they age than when they were babies. Here are a few things you will want to know to guide senior pets into a happy old age.
While we’re not suggesting that you run out and get your vet to do a whole battery of exams all at once… sending you to the poor house in the interim… there are some tests to keep in mind as she ages.
Blood work: Some vets call this “wellness” blood testing and some call it senior blood work. Either way, vets are looking for markers that could show that your pet may have disease starting inside. This blood testing is usually done starting at around the age of 7 and is performed at least once per year. These tests will show if your pet has diabetes, anemia or even thyroid disease.
Dogs and cats always have lumps and bumps on their bodies but, as they age, they can be a precursor to serious illness like cancer. But lumps can hide under their fur, so make sure to run your hands along their bodies regularly. Turn it into a petting session – only you will know why. If you find an area that’s painful, make an appointment to see the vet ASAP.
As pets age, their dietary needs can change. Talk with your vet to determine if you need to change her food to a lower fat option if she isn’t as active as she used to be.
Just like humans, move it or lose it. Getting some exercise every day – even if that is taking your dog for a nice, long walk on a cool morning – can go a long way toward keeping your senior pet healthy.
Every pet is different but will inevitably get older. Work as a team with your vet to make their senior years truly golden ones!