Your pet provides furry warmth, companionship, and comfort to you and your loved ones. When no one’s around, they’re there, with their constant presence serving as a balm and reassurance that you’re loved.
However, like all living things, pets are subject to aging and the bodily travails and ravages of time. If you have senior pets, you should take extra care of their health. Regular visits to the vet can help you avoid the worst and increase their quality of life even as they draw closer to the dreaded day.
The wear and tear of time
Old age comes with its unique challenges for pets, necessitating frequent trips to the vet. Even if they have no preexisting conditions, you should still have them visit a vet. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), there are five stages of life for pets:
End of life
While it’s a bit difficult to narrow down these phases into specific age brackets due to differences in breeds, senior status is broadly determined as the final 25% of a pet’s estimated lifespan. For instance, a German Shepherd with an estimated average lifespan of around 12 years would be regarded as a senior at eight years.
During this period, concerned pet parents may be concerned about the frequency of their pet’s vet visits. There are also other considerations, such as the cost of vet care and common conditions in elderly pets.
Signs of aging in pets
As your pets enter their senior years, you’ll notice gradual changes in their behavior, dietary needs, and energy levels. For instance, a previously energetic pet will slow down, opting for a leisurely stroll instead of playful sprints. They may also sleep for longer than usual.
Aging also affects their diet, with their bodies adapting to the need for a different set of nutrients. They can also experience behavioral changes, including confusion or increased irritability.
This goes without mentioning the various health issues that senior pets are susceptible to, such as kidney disease, heart disease, cognitive dysfunction, dental disease, and arthritis.
Your senior pet and the vet
Vets recommend twice-yearly checkups for senior pets. Your senior dog or cat will get vaccinations when required, in addition to a comprehensive physical exam.
There are also tests to follow up on any problems. For instance, urine and blood tests can inform the vet about the condition of your pet’s thyroid hormone levels and liver health.
You’ll also be required to provide a review of your pet’s diet, activity level, and history and mention any behavioral changes you’ve observed. In addition to the normal checkup routine, the vet will carry out a geriatric screening to identify progressive diseases in the early stages.
Assess your senior pet’s quality of life
Unfortunately, there’s no reversing the hands of time, and despite your best efforts, the end continues to draw nearer. Still, this does not mean that you cannot take joy in helping your beloved pets enjoy their last few years on earth. Reach out to us for an End of Life Quality assessment for your pet and other services.