As we well know, all animals are different. There are however some general guidlines to determine when they become 'seniors.' For cats we usually call them mature from around 7-10 years, senior from 11-14 years and geriatric once they reach the 15 year mark.
For dogs their senior status is much for breed related. For example, large breed dogs like Great Danes are considered senior at around 6 or 7 years where as a 7 year old Chihuahua is really only middle aged.
Ultimately, your pet's genetics, nutrition and environment will play a huge role in determining when they become seniors.
We recommend that dogs from 7 years for large breeds and 10 years for small breeds start to have bi-annual check ups. This is to ensure we are keeping on top of their health and can catch any issues that pop up before they develop into serious problems. Age related diseases can be subtle and symptoms can be easily missed. Through regular check ups and blood tests we can establish what is a normal base line for your pet which can help alert you if something unusual starts occuring.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary, lack of energy, lack of appetite or toileting unusually please always give us a call! We are always happy to answer questions and give advice.
Please always remember, that the older your pet gets the less active they become. This means they will be burning fewer calories so you will need to watch their portion sizes and consider changing to a senior food.
Feeding fresh vegetables or high quality commercial treats can also help to avoid weight gain as obesity contributes to many diseases and puts more stress on your pet’s joints.
Exercise is a vital part of a senior pets day, with dogs the walks may only need to be short but it is important to get them out and get them moving. In saying this however, make sure you listen to your dog, don't push them further than they can go. Always have water near by and avoid walking on days that are too warm or humid.
Cats also need and love exercise, even our senior friends! Ignite their playful side with a spray of catnip or