When is my pet considered old?
Dogs and cats are typically considered geriatric at eight years of age. As your pet ages, there are certain age-related medical conditions that need to be addressed. All cats over eight years of age should be placed on a potassium supplement. This will increase your cat's muscle strength while decreasing stress on its heart and kidneys.
All pets should receive a thorough physical exam yearly. This will help in the early diagnosis of heart disease (coughing, bloated abdomen), dental health (a source of infection to the heart, kidneys, and bloodstream), weight changes (metabolic problems, diabetes, oral disease, intestinal tumors), growths (potential cancerous tumors), and to establish the general condition of your pet.
Relative to humans, older animals age approximately one decade per year. Yearly bloodwork is essential in older animals to diagnose organ dysfunction, metabolic changes, diabetes, and hint at tumor formation. Early diagnosis can allow for non-invasive/affordable treatment. This can be accomplished by simply changing foods, or by adding supplements to the diet that can decrease the stress on the body’s organs and remove their accumulated toxins.
Arthritis will affect most dogs and many cats sooner or later. Dogs generally get up slowly in the morning, are reluctant to go up and downstairs, can become exercise intolerant, and have a hard time lying down comfortably. Cats generally “feel bad.” Many times they can become irritable, not move about as much, and have a decrease in their food consumption. These signs usually become more exaggerated when the weather changes abruptly, becoming cold and wet. During weather changes, many dogs and cats also exhibit GI upsets: decreased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea (many times with blood). There are many safe/affordable medications that can be given to decrease your pet's suffering and allow a more comfortable existence.