Over the years we have happily noticed a modest rise in ages of pets. Thanks to modern vet techniques and medicine, family pets now seem to reach ages older than commonly seen in the past. As pets age, their needs change and with a little care and attention from owners, they can enjoy happy and comfortable lives during the autumn years.
As a very general rule, a dog 7 years or older should be considered middle to senior aged. The onset of ageing symptoms do vary from breed to breed for example a Great Dane at the age of around 8 is quite elderly while the smaller breeds tend to show their geriatric status well beyond that age.
Cats are considered elderly from around 10 to 12 years of age. They may still show a spring in their step and have no noticeable age related problems but at this time it’s good to be aware that your cat is getting along in years.
Check out the ageing chart below to see how your pet compares in human years.
Ageing can herald wear and tear issues for our pets but individual pets, like each human, will show these effects differently. There are some general things that are noticed as the pet ages. Their energy levels may slow down, they experience changes in their eyesight and hearing as well as show some greying around their muzzle and feet. They may also show some changes in mobility and you may see a difference in their coat health. Small lumps and bumps might also arise. Brittle teeth and weight changes may occur and their mental abilities may change gradually but these signs of ageing don’t announce an impending end to life or suggest your ageing pet can’t be happy in these years.
Regular monitoring is key to spotting any changes so an extra check-up a year will be beneficial. We recommend you read about the signs of ageing and it’s good to come and see us to work out the most effective health care maintenance plan for the time ahead. All older pets will always enjoy a comforting pat and the continuation of love they have enjoyed from owners over the years. As long as they can toilet comfortably, eat, drink and enjoy relatively stimulating life (without overdoing it) old age in pets can be just as sweet as any well earned retirement.
With health care for animals continually improving there are often many things we can do to make a difference to the oldies through their years. Come in for a consultation to see if we can help you out.
Pet Ageing Compared with Humans
The Rule of thumb: