Do You Want Your Senior Pets To Live Longer?

Posted by Maureen Lake at

Do You Want Your Senior Pets To Live Longer?

Senior Pets

My kids always ask me why I write about senior pets because to them it's heartbreaking to think about. How can I write about older pet knowing what the final outcome will be? Truth is, I hate the fact that Keira is aging, not knowing how much time I have left with her. She is the reason I’ve made it through many difficult times in my life and the passing of her will be just as hard, if not tougher. I think we can all agree that our pets don’t live long enough. I think we can all agree that our pets don’t live long enough. The good news is that as veterinary medicine advances, longer and healthier life spans are definitely possible, now more than ever. Even so, there are many dangerous myths that need to be discussed about our seniors.

 

Senior Pets

A recent survey of approximately 1,000 people by PetAg, Inc  showed that one-third of American pet owners don’t even know when their pet will become a senior. Knowing that there are more than 71 million pet owners in the US this statistic translates to millions of people who do not know when or how to provide or even prepare for their pet’s senior years! When is your pet a senior pet? It’s different depending on the size and breed, but a general rule of thumb is that dogs and cats are considered senior around the age of seven. Truthfully, the best way to plan for this is to make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss your individual pet’s needs.

Senior pets

Myth:  Pets And Their Owners Age Differently. Fact:  We are all aware that pets age faster than we do, but the changes that occur with aging are very similar. Just like us humans, aging brings the onset of changes in weight, arthritic joints, dental problems, and heart difficulties to just name a few. Senior pets need an appropriate diet, possible supplements and or medication depending on their needs. Don’t forget about dental care, especially cleaning because this not only keeps their teeth stay clean, but can keep gums, heart and liver healthy too! Myth:  Exercise and Toys are the Best Way to Prevent Cognitive Decline.

Senior Pets

Fact:  Humans and pets are both at risk for dementia. In pets dementia may display itself differently, such as; vocalization, accidents in the house, getting lost in the house and separation anxiety etc. Research does tell us that exercise can help maintain cognitive function. The exciting news is that the latest research supports dietary change, including the use of nutritional supplements to help combat dementia in pets. The research is promising and includes the use of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

Senior Pets

Myth:  As Long As My Pet Isn’t Overweight I Shouldn’t Be Concerned. Fact:  Yes, obesity is a major health concern and ages pets faster, but a low weight pet may be at risk as well. Diseases such as Diabetes, kidney failure, and cancer cause weight loss and your pet may appear to be at its ideal weight when it is actually very ill. So don’t be fooled by your senior pet, especially if they are starting to lose a bit of weight. Being a pet owner means understanding each life stage as your pet grows and ages. In a blink of an eye your pet will be a senior and their needs change. It’s important to keep up on the latest research because knowledge is fluid and ever changing. For other topics to read relating to senior pets please click here. Free! Holistic Remedies for your Dog or Cat

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  • Thanks Heather, My kids are grown now and I will admit that my dogs are now my new kids. I have a lot to learn but this is one area that I don’t ever want to encounter with my pets. Knowledge is power. Thanks for your comment!

    Maureen Lake on
  • Great points! We need to love our fur babies as much as we do our family and loved ones. These are great myth rebukes. Thanks for the article!

    Heather aka HoJo on
  • I’m a relatively new pet owner (got a cat in February), and have never really given this much thought. I had no idea 7 was the age animals reached seniority, I would have guessed 10 or 11. Thanks for the information, going to try to make sure my cat leads a long and healthy life.

    Estrella on
  • Thank you for saying that. Honestly, their dental care is just as important as ours and often overlooked. Heck half the time I forget about my own cleaning!

    Maureen Lake on
  • Thank you for your kind comments. I just went out yesterday and bought some “toppings” to add to my senior dog’s kibble. It’s loaded with antioxidants and I figure every little bit helps. Our dog’s age way too quickly, it’s sad to realize how short their time is with us. Writing about seniors has been difficult for me but I need to learn as much as I can for my girl.

    Maureen Lake on


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