Menu

Download our Petland App today for information on your local Petland's Available Pets and Pet Supplies. All at the tips of your fingers!

Petland Logo
Book an appointment today and receive a $100 discount on your puppy! *Certain Restrictions Apply
Login/Register

Please create a free account, or login by clicking here.

Senior Pet Health: How Dogs and Cats Age

January 24, 2019

How do we extend our animal companion’s lives and make them as healthy and happy for as long as possible?  It is very important to understand that aging itself is not a disease.  It’s a complex biological process driven by your pet’s genetics, environmental factors, nutrition, lifestyle and stress level.

Signs of Aging

First, we need to understand our pet’s life stages. Particularly, when they enter their senior years and the decline of their physical condition, organ function, sensory and mental function and immune response. Just like humans, this is when the risk of health issues such as arthritis, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, thyroid conditions and diabetes increases. Pets age much the same as we do but at an accelerated rate. To help offset the faster aging process and detect age-related diseases and conditions early, most veterinarians recommend healthy senior dogs and cats be examined every six months. The earlier your pet’s health problems are identified, the more options you and your veterinarian have to cure them, slow their progression or help keep them comfortable.

How do you know when your pet is reaching this milestone in life? This chart, provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), provides a great guideline.

Age: Human Equivalents for older pets

 

One of the first things to expect when your pet reaches its senior years are degenerative changes like arthritis. He may not be able to walk as far or play as long and might tire more easily. He may have difficulty getting up or finding a comfortable position to sleep in and become reluctant to go up and down stairs or get in and out of the car.  Work with your veterinarian to determine what can be done to help your pet with these changes.


Age Related Changes

Do not give human pain medications to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian. Some human products, including over-the-counter medications (such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen), can be fatal for pets. Over-the-counter pet supplements, containing either glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty acids may help relieve the symptoms of arthritis in dogs.

Other signs seen by owners and associated with aging might actually be health problems.  These signs include bad breath, cognitive changes, reduced appetite, drinking more than normal, urinating more often and urine leakage.  Dismissing these signs can result in a missed opportunity to help your pet. If you notice any of the above symptoms or other changes in your pet’s normal behavior, report them to your veterinarian as quickly as possible

 

 

Tom Edling

 

 

 

Meet Petland’s Consulting Veterinarian, Dr. Thomas Edling, DVM, MSpVM, MPH:

Dr. Edling received his BS in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1981 and his degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Colorado State University. He previously served as Vice President of Veterinary Medicine for Petco and was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. In addition, Dr. Edling completed the American Board of Veterinary Practitioner’s residency program for Companion and Wild Avian Medicine and Surgery, at North Carolina State University, where he also received his Master in Specialized Veterinary Medicine (MSpVM) in 2001. In 2011, Dr. Edling completed the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at Johns Hopkins University. As a veterinarian, Dr. Edling works closely with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV).

Related Articles

View All Articles

  • Steps to Introducing Your Pet to a Newborn

    Becoming a best friend and protector to your new bundle of joy is an exciting role that many canines are proud to take on. On the other hand, some dogs aren’t into the whole ...

    Read This Blog

  • Should My Dog Be Eating Grass?

    Are you finding yourself wondering if you bought a cow instead of a dog? If so, you’re not alone in this dilemma. Many dog owners find themselves scratching their heads and w...

    Read This Blog

  • Does Your Dog Snore?

    Are cuddles–or worse conference calls!–often interrupted by your best pal’s snores? If so, you’re probably wondering if this is normal and why it’s ha...

    Read This Blog

  • All About Dog Teeth

    Have you always wondered about your puppies’ teeth? How about your adult dog and how to make sure that they have the right at-home dental care? Here are 5 interesting facts a...

    Read This Blog

  • Popcorn Treats for Dogs

    When thinking about popcorn, the nostalgia brings us back to buttered up theater popcorn, a giant soda, some Milk Duds, and a good flick. Well, what about popcorn for dogs? Can dog...

    Read This Blog

  • Are Daily Walks With My Dog Necessary?

    This may seem like an easy question to answer, but it’s not always cut and dry.  Daily walks are great for you and your dog – you both get some needed exercise and...

    Read This Blog

  • Dog Skin Care Tips For Spring

    Spring sunshine is here and you will want to enjoy time outside with your dog. Just as you protect your skin from nature and sun exposure, you should do the same for your pup. We w...

    Read This Blog

  • Why is my puppy’s energy so high?

    There are actually a lot of possible reasons that your Puppy is being so energetic. Here are a few. It needs more exercise Many different types of dogs are bred to do energy-intens...

    Read This Blog

  • 4 Super Helpful Dog Bathing Tips

    Life is crazy enough without wrestling your wet dog in your bathtub, so here are 4 helpful tips you can use right away to help make doggy bath time better at your house: Bathing on...

    Read This Blog

  • 5 Things You Do That Your Puppy Loves

    Dogs are man’s best friend, and this special bond can be strengthened when we go the extra mile to understand the things that our pups love. Here are 5 things that you do tha...

    Read This Blog

  • 5 First Tricks for Your New Puppy

    Coming home with a new puppy is one of the most exciting events that could happen in an animal lover’s life. Their excitement and cuteness are infectious with their little pa...

    Read This Blog

  • Choose The Best Dog Food

    If you could help your dog to live a long and fruitful life would you do it.? The answer for most pet owners is “of course”. Well, the great news for you is that you ca...

    Read This Blog

Help Need Help?