September is Senior Pet Health Month!
On average, pets age seven times faster than people. This means that most dogs and cats reach adulthood by age two and middle age by four. By age seven, most dogs—particularly larger breeds—are entering their senior years!
Because dogs and cats age so rapidly, health problems tend to progress faster in pets as well.
The risk of many diseases, including dental disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, arthritis and cancer all increase with age and have the potential to worsen within a matter of weeks. Even pets that appear normal can have an underlying problem, which is why regular visits to the veterinarian are crucial for older pets.
Some common issues that senior dogs may experience include reduced hearing, changes in eyesight, arthritis and muscle mass loss, cognitive dysfunction, and cardiac and kidney disease.
Senior cats are also susceptible to many health changes, including a decrease in kidney function, decreased digestion and ability to absorb nutrients, changes in thyroid function, as well as decreased mobility.
Early detection can help prevent disease and minimize suffering of an older pet. Bi-annual exams and yearly wellness bloodwork are highly recommended for all pets eight years and older. So celebrate your senior pet’s health and wellbeing this September—and do it again in March!