You are so used to taking your dog for a walk. It is part of the nightly routine but lately, you have noticed that he isn't nearly as excited to go and the walks have become slower. His interest in playing has dropped considerably. You begin to think about how old he is and you ask yourself, “has it really been that long?” The years have passed and that bouncy, excited puppy is now a senior dog. So, shouldn't his care be different like it is for humans? Highlands Animal Hospital in Sebastian, FL can help steer you on the right course of action to keep your senior dog feeling happy and healthy for as long as possible.
What To Expect
Cats and small dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs. A typical lifespan for a cat or small dog is 14-18 years while larger dogs may only live 12-14 years. Some characteristics you may see in geriatric animals are:
- Vision and hearing loss
- Kidney disease
- Heart failure
- Cognitive dysfunction that is similar to Alzheimer's
Senior Pet Care
Although you cannot completely stop the process of aging, you can do some things to help your pet feel better and possibly live longer. Senior pet care tasks include:
- A change in food may be needed as well as adding supplements. Lower calorie intake will be required and it is vital to control any weight gain as overweight dogs suffer from many issues.
- Mobility is important even though it may be slower movement and shorter distances. Just like people, pets need to exercise to keep the body motivated, help with arthritis, and maintain mental sharpness. It also aids in keeping weight problems under control.
- Patience is the key to maintaining the quality of life for your aging pet. Loss of hearing or vision may cause a slower, clumsy movement. Older pets may experience incontinence and you may have to clean up after him more often. The dog that once came when you called or who never left the yard, may be more inclined to wander away.
- Be on the lookout for signs of problems or changes in behavior. Regular visits to the veterinarian will be essential for catching medical problems early.
Senior Pet Care in Sebastian, FL
Highlands Animal Hospital has a full-service veterinarian and is conveniently located in Sebastian. We have extensive experience in dealing with aging pets. Schedule a visit and we will provide a customized care plan for your senior pet. Call us today at (772) 388-1883 to get started.