Helping Your Pet Enjoy Healthy & Happy Lives
The doctors and staff here at West Hempstead Veterinary Hospital want your pet to live a long, healthy, and happy life. There are many health problems that occur in our aging pets. Dental issues, thyroid disease, kidney problems, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis are just some of the common health problems we often see in senior pets. The sooner we can detect these problems, the earlier we can intervene.
A complete, yearly health exam is crucial in catching these problems early on.
How to Tell If Your Pet Is a “Senior”
Pets are generally considered “seniors” at around seven years of age. However, depending on the size of your pet, they may age more quickly.
A senior dog is usually over seven years of age, except for giant breeds (Great Danes, Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, etc.) who have a genetically shorter life-span and can be considered seniors at five years of age. A dog’s biological clock moves much faster than it does for people. Instead of taking 18 years to reach physical maturity as people do, dogs mature when they are slightly more than one year old.
The average lifespan for dogs varies between 8 (giant breeds) and 18 years (miniature breeds), depending on the breed and size. With regular and proper health care visits to your veterinarian, you can help your dog live to his/her optimal lifespan in good health. Aging dogs are similar to aging people; they may walk more stiffly and have trouble getting up and down stairs. You may see gray hair around their muzzle and a duller, drier coat and hazy eyes.
Cats generally reach senior stage around eight years of age. Many cats begin to experience some sort of age-related changes between 8 and 10 years of age. Just like dogs, cats age much more quickly than humans. At one year of age, a cat is about 16 in “human years,” but that aging slows down as they get older. Many cats live well into their mid- to late teens, especially with the advances in veterinary medicine.
As cats age, they may become stiff, much like humans, and even gray around their faces. Many cats don’t groom themselves as well as they used to and their fur may become matted and dull looking. Their eyes may look hazy or cloudy. Older cats may not spend as much time around the family as usual and may sleep the majority of the day. Cat’s behavior can change as well, with them becoming crankier in their senior years.