What does a sick senior pet look like?
Indicators that something is wrong can include:
- inappropriate elimination (urinary leaking and/or feces falling out)
- change in interactions with people and/or other animals
- hiding or signs of stress
- dislike of being stroked or brushed
- change in activity levels, sleeping habits, grooming habits, vocalization, food and/or water consumption
- unexplained weight loss or gain
- bad breath
- lumps or changes in skin color/fur color
- diarrhea, constipation, vomiting
- excessive panting or exercise intolerance (hard time moving around without panting a lot)
If you notice any of these signs, please discuss them with your veterinarian to determine proper treatment.
Signs of Aging
Normal signs of aging include hearing loss (normally become deaf about 13 years of age), vision compromise, decreased time between potty breaks, and decreased time needed between meals. As our pets age, their bodies slow down and break down like humans. It is important to feed older animals several small meals rather than one or two large meals as they cannot handle a lot of food at a time. Older pets should be let out of the house more often.
Supplements that can help with the aging body include:
- joint and fish oil supplements, which help with joint care and reduce inflammation
- probiotics if they have fecal incontinence issues or diarrhea
- senior pet vitamins, which aid in the absorption of nutrients from their food
Always check with your veterinarian for which supplements and food would be best for your pet and before switching or changing anything you give your pet.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CDS)
Canine cognitive dysfunction (CDS) or canine dementia can include behavioral abnormalities including disturbances in the sleep-wake cycle, pacing at night (mostly but can happen at any time during the day), changes in house soiling, disorientation, altered interactions with people and/or other pets, changes in activity, anxiety, separation anxiety and/or noise phobia. These symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually; some days will be better than others. There are supplements and medications for CDS make sure to ask your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs to help minimize or slow down the progression of the disease.
See my article on Senior Pet Helpful Tips for tips on how to help your senior pet get through the day easier.