The Aging Pet

May 23, 2015

 

Have you noticed that dear old Rover is not the playful puppy he used to be? How about that Chloe the cat is no longer jumping up onto the kitchen counter to watch you make dinner? Your pet slowing down is not necessarily considered normal. It can be a sign of other changes to your pet’s body that may be causing discomfort. As your cat or dog ages, it is important to learn about and recognize the many aging changes your pet may start to display. Learning to recognize these signs can help your pet live more comfortably, or may allow you to help catch disease processes early before they become a serious illness and allow you to seek treatment for your pet.

 

Arthur Itis is visiting your pet, and he is not moving out any time soon.

 

Most commonly, people think that a pet having less energy is just because the pet is old, but this could be due to arthritis. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints, which can cause pain and stiffness to the joints affected. Both cats and dogs can have arthritis in any joint, and sometimes even in their spine. Signs commonly seen with arthritis can include limping or lameness, decrease in activity or changes in normal behaviors, sleeping more than usual, and the pet may bite or growl at the family if the painful area is touched.

Arthritis is not curable, but there are things we can do to help our pets be more comfortable. There are options for glucosamine supplements, or anti-inflammatory medications and prescription diets such as Hill’s j/d. Some veterinary clinics also offer laser therapy to help with joint inflammation. It is also important to keep your pet exercising to help with keeping his or her joints moving and not getting as stiff, but you also must be careful in not over-exercising your pet. Buying a ramp to help your pet get up onto furniture or buying a padded bed to help provide some cushioning may also help keep your pet comfortable. It is important to visit the veterinarian if you start noticing these signs, because stiffness and limping can also be signs of other diseases such as elbow or hip dysplasia and in some instances bone cancer.

 

Gaining wisdom about weight

 

Weight loss or weight gain is another noticeable aging change. Your pet should be tested to rule out intestinal parasites, but disease processes such as diabetes, kidn