They say time stops for no man. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop for our aging pets either. Here are some things to keep in mind as your dog gets older. Annual veterinarian exams are always important. However, after age seven years, your veterinarian may want to see your pet more frequently. Vet exams every 6 months allow conversations about your pet’s rapidly changing needs. This will give the veterinarian the opportunity to diagnose common conditions early enough to initiate options for therapies that can prolong and improve the quality of life.
Talk to your vet about any changes you notice in your pet’s appetite, energy, elimination behaviors, and mobility. Consider general wellness bloodwork to assess liver and kidney function. Your vet might also ask for a urine sample to know more about kidney function that can decline with age. Discuss with your veterinarian the best choice of diet for your pet’s specific life stage and special needs. Does your dog have difficulty standing or lying down? Does he not want to jump on the couch or bed anymore? Does he hesitate to go up or down the stairs? Does he get tired on walks sooner than he used to? Has his appetite changed? Has he developed an occasional cough? Has his haircoat or skin changed? These are all important things to discuss with your veterinarian at bi-annual wellness exams. Veterinary medicine can now offer many avenues for better quality of life, including pet physical therapy, accupuncture, laser therapy, surgeons, and Internal Medicine specialist veterinarians to care for pets with chronic conditions like osteoarthritis, diabetes, kidney or liver issues, and many others.
If you feel that your senior pet’s quality of life has very seriously declined, talk with your veterinarian about options for quality of life care. Many veterinarians are able to even come to your home as a mobile service to care for your pet. This eliminates the stress of struggling to get an older pet to the vet hospital.
Our pets are living longer and we have more options than ever before to keep them as happy as possible!
Author: Dr. Rebecca Merrifield