Most U.S. homes have at least one pet, usually a cat or dog, and many have multiple pets. Most pets come to us by way of a friend of family member, but almost 30 percent are purchased from breeders, with another 20-plus percent adopted from shelters. Over 46 million U.S. households have a dog; that?s around 47 percent of the population. Recently, improvements in veterinary care and nutrition research, pets are living longer than ever before. Consequently, pet owners and medical providers are facing new challenges in pet health.
As pets age, they have new health issues, just like people do. Changes in older dogs may be behavioral, physical, and metabolic changes ranging from decreased activity to poor vision to weight loss. Other signs of aging in pets can be stiff joints, hearing or vision problems, a sense of confusion, unwillingness to eat or drink, or loss of bowel control. For most pets, they are considered geriatric around the age of 7 or so. Pet care is important throughout the life cycle, but the benefit of regular visits as your pet ages is increasingly vital.
Some tips for caring for senior dogs are as follows:
1. Educate yourself about common health concerns for senior dogs and the treatments used. Be aware of symptoms so that you can alert your vet.
2. Be careful not to overfeed your dog. Give him the best, most nutrient-packed food you can find, but mind the suggested serving size.
3. Make sure your senior dog gets adequate exercise, but adjust it; changes in older dogs include speed and endurance. Shorter, slower walks more often are best.
4. Pet care includes dental health. Brush your dog?s teeth regularly, and ask your vet if she thinks your dog needs professional dental care.
5. Include your dog in your life as often as possible. Changes in older dogs often make them feel more sensitive and in need of their human?s love.
Pet health for senior pets may require more attention and care than what younger pets need. As your pet ages, changes in his physical condition will prompt more frequent visits to the veterinarian. If problems are diagnosed and treated quickly, things will be better for your pet and less costly and stressful for the owners. It is recommended that you visit a veterinarian with your senior dog at least twice a year. Consider purchasing pet health insurance to help you manage costs. Pet health insurance plans are designed to help you afford the best care for your pet. As the changes in older dogs and cats occur, costs can increase, and pet insurance can help you face both the costs and the changes in your pet?s life.