Senior Pet: What to Expect

Did you know that a 16-year-old dog is the physical equivalent of a 99-year-old human?! Whether you have a senior dog, cat  or other pet, expect some changes as they age.

Like their owners, pets change with age. Also like their owners, the changes go beyond gray hair. From skin and joints to weight and activity, time brings physical changes. Watch for some of these common ones as your pet celebrates more and more birthdays. (And don’t be surprised if you find that some of these changes are true for you, too!)

Extra food? Extra pounds! Older pets don’t need as much food as they did when they were younger. And extra food will end up as extra pounds. That can cause heart and joint problems (including canine arthritis), plus other health issues. Some pets, like cats and horses, might end up losing weight in the latter years. So talk to your vet about your pet's dietary needs and whether Kitty or Flicka needs extra nutrition. And lots of fresh water is important no matter what the age of your pet.

Fewer locks: Is your pet’s hair thinning? Going gray? Both are common occurrences in cats, dogs and other pets. Your pet might need more brushing to keep the hair healthy, or a change in diet. If a change in hair or skin is sudden, talk to your vet.

Pedi-pedi for your pet? Age can also bring brittle nails, and split nails can be painful. So give your older pet a pedi-pedi (the four-legged version of your mani-pedi, or manicure and pedicure combination). Keep them trim and ask your vet if a change in diet can help.

Like their owners, different pets will age differently. Keep your loved and loving pet as healthy as possible by keeping up with regular vet visits. Catching medical issues early can lead to a long, high quality life for both of you.

Do you know someone with a senior pet? Share this article with them so they can know what to expect!

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