Don’t Let Your Senior Dog Suffer from These Common Health Problems

Although senior pets are generally considered healthy and hardy, a few health problems are more common in them than in younger ones. This means that cat & dog routine checkups are not only for young ones but for your old animal companions as well. 

Here are the five most common problems in senior pets, their signs, and what you can do to prevent them.

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is among the most common health problems in seniors, especially dogs. It is a degenerative disease of the joints causing pain, stiffness, and inflammation. If they have arthritis, they can have difficulty moving around and getting comfortable.

The following are signs of arthritis for pets:

  • Limping or difficulty moving
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling in the joints
  • Decreased activity level
  • Changes in behavior, such as irritability

If you believe your pet may have arthritis, take them to the vet for a checkup. Several treatment options available can help relieve pain and improve mobility, including weight management, physical therapy, supplements, and medications.

Prevention for arthritis is always better than cure. Make sure they get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy weight to reduce the risk of developing this painful condition.

2. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is a common age-related condition that affects dogs and cats. It is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans and can cause a decline in mental function, resulting in changes in behavior.

Pets with CDS may exhibit the following signs:

  • Disorientation
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in activities or people
  • Decreased activity level
  • Increased anxiety or irritability

Unfortunately, there is an unknown way to prevent this condition. However, you can help your pet manage the symptoms by providing a stimulating environment and plenty of mental and physical exercise, like training sessions, agility courses, or walks in new places. You may also want to talk to your veterinarian about medications that can help improve cognitive function.

3. Kidney Disease

As pets age, they tend to develop kidney disease. This progressive condition can lead to organ failure and death if left untreated.

The early signs of kidney disease are often subtle and can be easily missed. They include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Having your pet checked by a veterinarian regularly is the best prevention for kidney disease. It should include lab tests and exams. This also allows them to catch any problems early. Encourage them to drink enough water, especially if they’ve been physically active. 

4. Cancer

After old age, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs and cats. It can affect any tissue in the body and can spread quickly if left untreated.

Below are signs that your pet may have cancer:

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lumps or masses under the skin
  • Sores that don’t heal
  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Changes in bathroom habits
  • Lethargy

Just like with other diseases, the best cancer prevention is having your pet checked by a veterinarian regularly. If you observe your pets showing any of the above signs, immediately visit your vet. Early detection is key to successful treatment.

Also, severe cancer not only in old pets but also in young pets may require emergency care. So, you should know about some of your area’s emergency pet care clinics. See more here about emergency vet care.

5. Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the top causes of death in dogs and cats. It is a general term to describe any heart or blood vessel problem.

The most common heart disease type in pets is congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart doesn’t pump properly, and fluid builds up in the lungs. The following are signs that your pet may have heart disease:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Lethargy

You can take these preventive measures to reduce the risk of heart disease in your pet:

  • Feeding them a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding obesity
  • You should also have your pet checked by a veterinarian regularly for any signs of heart problems.

In Conclusion

As your pet enters their golden years, it’s important to watch for common health problems. Arthritis, cognitive dysfunction syndrome, kidney disease, and cancer are potential threats to your pet’s health. However, with regular checkups and preventive care, you can help your pet enjoy a long and happy life.

Also, geriatric care for pets or senior pet care is critical. Senior pets have different needs than younger ones, so it’s essential to be aware of them to provide the best possible care.