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At Forest Hill Animal Hospital, our Germantown veterinarian is here to provide pets with compassionate care at all stages of life. Pet owners need to understand that as their pet ages, they become more susceptible to certain injuries, illnesses, and medical conditions. Fortunately, with the right level of care, you can protect your aging pet and help him or her lead a healthy, happy life for a long time to come.
The age at which a pet is considered "senior" can vary based on the type of pet you have as well as its size or breed. Generally, larger animals such as larger-breed dogs will age more rapidly than smaller pets, so they may be considered "senior" around ages 9 or 10. Smaller animals, such as cats and even small-breed dogs, may reach age 12 or 13 before they are considered senior.
As pets reach senior age, you may begin to notice some changes. Your once-active and rambunctious pet may seem more lethargic and tired, and he or she may even have a harder time getting around. Your senior pet may also become more susceptible to certain injuries and illnesses, such as diabetes or arthritis.
The best thing you can do for your aging pet in terms of preventative care is to begin bringing your pet in for semi-annual exams; these more frequent exams will allow our veterinary team to keep a closer eye on any changes in your pet's health. If we notice any changes that could be problematic, we can order the necessary diagnostic testing as soon as possible. These regular exams can help us diagnose, treat, and manage illnesses and other medical conditions in older pets early on, which gives us a better chance at being able to successfully treat them.
In addition to more frequent exams, we may also recommend changes to your pet's diet. As your pet ages, his or her nutritional needs can change. For example, many older pets will need a higher protein and higher-calorie diet. We can provide nutritional counseling for your pet so you can make sure you're feeding the right formula.
Above all else, do your best to accommodate your aging pet as his or her needs change. For example, if your cat shows signs of difficulty getting up and down stairs, make sure all your cats basic needs (food, litter box, toys, and a comfy bed) are within easy reach on the same floor.
If you need to schedule a senior pet exam with our Germantown veterinarian, give our team at Forest Hill Animal Hospital a call today at 901-754-5007. We look forward to caring for your pet!