We’d all like to think that our pets will be with us forever, but no one can escape the aging process. It eventually catches up to all of us, but unfortunately, it catches our beloved pets much sooner, and before you know it, the gray hairs and arthritis have arrived.
Most dogs enter the “senior” stage of their lives at around age 7, with larger dogs succumbing a bit sooner and smaller ones somewhat later. Cats can sometimes go 10 years before entering their golden years. When our pets do eventually slow down, their needs change, and it’s up to us to keep pace. Being aware of your senior pet’s needs due to aging will insure that your final years together are a sweet reminder to a lifetime of friendship.
There are many pitfalls for the aging pet to avoid – diabetes, failing eyesight, arthritis, and the list goes on. But one of the primary factors that contribute to a pet’s slowing rhythms is weight. Obesity in older pets can shorten their remaining years more that just about anything. That’s why there are specially formulated foods for senior pets, who need fewer calories now that they’re not as active.
Also be sure to schedule a visit with your veterinarian once your pet enters the golden years. It’s helpful to discuss the preventative measures you can take against the aging process. With adequate attention to their changing needs, our pets can remain active participants in our lives for as long as possible.