Thankfully, modern pet food as well as higher quality of care has allowed our pets to live longer than possible in years past. But even though pets are typically living longer than they ever have before, it is important that you provide them with the extra care and attention they deserve to help them live a happy and healthy life.
As your pet ages, the chances of health conditions and ailments impeeding their day-to-day life increase. This means that more frequent veterinary examinations, as well as lifestyle changes, can be beneficial to help detect and treat problems before the issues become advanced or life-threatening.
How Old Is A “Senior Pet”?
The exact age at which your pet is considered senior will vary based on the type of pet you have as well as their specific breed. The general age at which a pet is considered senior is seven years of age. This number can differ dramatically based on the size and breed of your pet. For example, large dog breeds such as Bernese Mountain Dogs will typically only have a life expectancy from 7 years to 9 years of age which would put their classification of senior at a few years younger than seven years.
Many dog parents believe that dogs age at the rate of 7 human years for each year of their dog’s life but this isn’t 100% accurate because of the many different variables that come into play. This formula may work as a rough estimate but it is important to note that large dog breeds will typically have a much shorter life expectancy compared to smaller dog breeds which make it difficult to use one formula to fit all dogs.
It is important to note that age is not considered a “disease”. It is true that senior pets are more likely to develop age-related health issues, but good care and quality lifestyle changes can help your pet live a happy, healthy, and even active lifestyle late into their senior years of life.
Changes To Expect As Your Pet Transitions In Their Senior
Similar to humans, most pets can expect to see a few different changes as they age. These changes can range from behavioral issues such as a decrease in activity levels to potential health issues such as worsening sight or hearing. Each pet is different and can be expected to change and react differently to the aging process. The most important thing as a pet parent is to provide your senior pet with a safe, happy, and healthy lifestyle and home.
Some of the most common health issues or conditions that aging pets may experience are:
- Joint pain or arthritis
- Worsening hearing or eyesight
- Obesity from a decline in exercise
- Gum disease or oral health issues
- Slowing mental cognition
- Cancer development
- Development of kidney issues or kidney disease
Some of the most common behavioral changes that aging pets may experience:
- A decline in activity or exercise levels
- Changes or an increase in sleep schedule
- Less interest in playing
- Easily disturbed or stressed by loud sounds or sudden movements
- Changes in regular digestion periods
- Changes in eating schedule
How To Care For Your Senior Pet
Making specific lifestyle changes as well as health changes for your senior pet can help to keep them healthy and active as they age. Your veterinarian will be a great resource as your pet transitions into the senior years of their life. Your veterinarian may recommend more frequent examinations or tests in order to potentially find troublesome health conditions before they become too advanced. Frequent blood work and examinations can help keep your pet healthier for longer.
As your pet ages, it is important to keep them as active as possible. Daily exercise will help to keep your pet’s muscles, metabolism, and heart healthy as they age. As your pet ages, their activity levels will gradually decline but even senior pets require exercise and an active lifestyle in order to stay healthy. Daily activity and exercise can also be beneficial as a mental stimulant for your pet but you should make sure that they have plenty of time to rest and recover so their joints don’t suffer from overuse.
Some pet parents will plan on switching on changing their pet’s diet as they age in order to provide them with the additional nutrients that they may require as they age. Your veterinarian will be able to help you understand what additional nutrients or vitamins your dog may require as they age. Some dog food such as Wild Earth contains Omega-3 fatty acids that will help to keep your senior dog’s joints healthy as they age.
You may choose to use Wild Earth Dog Supplements to provide your senior dog with the additional nutrients they need. Below are the different dog supplements that Wild Earth offers: