We consider pets that are
SEVEN YEARS OLD
or older to be senior-aged pets. At this stage in their lives, dogs and cats are more susceptible to contracting health issues. Early detection can help prevent disease and minimize suffering of an older pet.
Dog Years VS Human Years
7 dog years = 44 – 56 years
10 dog years = 56 – 78 years
15 dog years = 76 – 115 years
20 dog years = 96 – 120 years
Cat Years VS Human Years
7 cat years = 54 years
10 cat years = 63 years
15 cat years = 78 years
20 cat years = 97 years
Getting Older Means Going to the Vet More Often
While annual check-ups are important for pets of all ages, making more frequent vet visits is especially important for mature pets. We consider pets that are seven years old and older to be senior-aged pets. At this stage in their lives, dogs and cats are more susceptible to contracting health issues, including the following:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Certain types of cancer
Beginning a senior wellness program is breed related. In dogs, the average age for senior screenings is 8, but for giant breed dogs we recommend starting at age 7. These comprehensive screenings include a complete blood count, profile and thyroid level, urinalysis and EKG depending on the breed predisposition for heart disease. For cats, we also recommend the full blood screening, urinalysis and blood pressure monitoring at 8 years old. Radiographs and ultrasound may also be suggested. We strongly encourage biannual examinations for all pets, but especially those in the senior group. At this life stage we discuss changes in nutritional requirements and evaluate arthritis pain management and closely monitor “lumps and bumps.”
- MOBILITY AIDS – Senior pets may not be able to get around as easily as they used to. You can provide assistance by placing ramps for access to high areas like beds and furniture and adding rugs for improved traction on slippery flooring.
- EXERCISE – Exercise is just as important for senior pets as it is for younger pets. It keeps them mobile, boosts their mood and impedes weight gain.
- COMFORTABLE BEDDING – If you haven’t already done so, consider providing your senior pet with a soft, supportive bed for naptime and bedtime.
- HEALTHY DIET – Aging pets should eat food that is tailored to their age group for optimal digestion and caloric intake.
- CAREFUL MONITORING – Keep a lookout for changes in your pet’s behavior and mood, as they may indicate a health condition. Pay special attention to eating, drinking, sleeping and bathroom patterns. Make sure to let your vet know about any changes.