It can be difficult emotionally to realize that your dog or cat is aging, but just like us, our pets need special care in their golden years. Typically, a cat is considered senior once he/she is nine years of age. For dogs, that designation is more dependent on breed. Here are a few examples of breed and age at which they are considered starting their senior years: Bulldog and Bernese Mountain Dog, age 6; Labrador, age 8; Beagle, age 10; Dachsund, age 11. Your veterinarian can tell you when your animal is a senior and what special care he/she will need.
Older pets may exhibit any of the following behaviors and symptoms when ill. Any one of them should signal that you need to contact your vet to see whether an exam is need.
- Changes in weight (especially weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Increased water consumption
- Changes in urine or stool elimination patterns
- New lumps or bumps or swellings, or changes to existing ones
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Sudden collapse or bout of weakness
- Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping
- Foul mouth odor or drooling
- Seizure or convulsion
With the proper care and attention this life stage calls for, you can help ensure that your beloved dogs and cats will lead healthy and happy lives for several more years.
The Frederick County Humane Society (Frederick, Maryland 21701) anticipates and meets the needs of responsible companion animal owners in Frederick County by providing affordable services, resources, and programs to keep their pets healthy, happy, and in life-long homes.