Common Health Issues in Aging Pets

Senior Golden Retriever.

Many pets inch their way toward old age without any obvious markers of the process. That doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes suffer from common age-related issues, however. With routine examinations and disease screenings, we can help pet owners stay in front of the most likely scenarios that often mark a pet’s senior years. The result is that early detection increases the effectiveness of possible treatment, but a heightened awareness of common health issues in aging pets can add to their vitality and day-to-day comfort, as well.

Slowing Down

In contrast with their bouncy younger years, an aging or senior pet may demonstrate a reluctance to hop onto the couch or into the truck. Limping, lethargy, or hesitation to participate in previously enjoyed activities can lead an owner to wonder what’s going on. 

Arthritis is, unfortunately, one of the most common health issues in aging pets. Characterized by inflammation of the joints, arthritis can be incredibly painful. A great way to mitigate pain is to keep a senior pet’s weight at a healthy level. Additionally, some medication can reduce pain and swelling. Movement is an important remedy for arthritis

Since We Mentioned It

Weight gain is a common problem in older pets, especially if they stop exercising. Connected to other common health issues in older pets, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart conditions, weight management is vitally important in a pet’s golden years. 

Senior nutritional needs do shift from previous ages. We can help you find the right food that supports the aging process, maintains a healthy weight, and keeps them strong. 

When It Hurts to Eat

Many older pets show less interest in their food, especially if it is hard kibble. Periodontal, or gum, disease can make chewing difficult and painful. Switching to a wet food diet can certainly help them chew, but their teeth and gums must be addressed. It isn’t uncommon for senior pets to have severe gum recession, broken or cracked teeth, or missing teeth. We can help them heal from these issues so they can feel like themselves again. 

I See You

Another of the most common health issues facing aging pets is vision changes or loss. Diabetes, cataracts, or glaucoma, can cause or exacerbate vision problems. If you notice that your senior pet shows light sensitivity, clumsiness, or cloudy/discolored eyes, we can help you address the cause of vision loss and make suggestions for adjusting their home environment to support them. 

Cognitive Decline In Pets

Senior pets can become confused, disoriented, and agitated as they age. Cognitive decline in pets is a neurological disorder that can affect mental acuity, motor functions, and even trained behaviors. Please let us know if your pet’s behavior changes. 

Other Diseases

Symptoms of organ dysfunction may be very gradual and subtle, but can include lethargy, coughing, respiratory issues, changes in appetite/thirst, and increased urination. Another reason why we recommend two wellness checks per year, early detection is critical to issues affecting the kidneys or heart. 

We Love Senior Pets

With proper care, thorough preparation, and heightened awareness of any changes, we can support senior pet health for many years. 

If you have further questions about common health issues in aging pets, please give us a call at (916) 737-5670. Our team is always happy to help at East Sacramento Veterinary Center