August is Senior Pet Month, a month-long celebration of older pets and an opportunity to learn more about their special care needs.
Here’s how to recognize signs of aging in your cat or dog, and how to keep them happy and healthy longer.
When is a pet considered a senior?
- Cats and small dogs: 10 years of age
- Medium and large dogs: 6-7 years of age
Signs of aging in pets
Many of the common signs of aging for pets are very similar to those for humans.
- Graying on muzzle or feet
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Diminished hearing
However, some changes can also be signs of age-related disease.
- Cloudy eyes can be a sign of diminished vision or cataracts
- Decreased activity can be a sign of pain or inflammation
- Grumpy behavior can be a sign of soreness and discomfort
Special care considerations for older pets
- Diet: May include lower calorie, softer foods and/or supplements (as recommended by your pet’s veterinarian)
- Sleep: Softer or heated beds
- Mobility: Ramps or stairs to allow no-jump access to sofas or human beds
- Exercise: Shorter, more gentle intervals of regular exercise
- Care: More frequent check-ins with your veterinarian
Common senior pet medical conditions include:
- Dogs: Arthritis, heart disease
- Cats: Kidney disease, thyroid disease
Build a healthy routine early
Healthier pets are often happier and spryer as they age. Establish healthy diet and exercise routines now and remember to schedule regular veterinary checkups.
We also encourage you to consider pet insurance coverage for your pets early to help keep them healthy.