September is Senior Pet Month and we have some great news for pet parents. Our dogs and cats are living longer than ever before. Some factors contributing to longer lives for pets include owners providing better medical care, an improved pet diet, and increased exercise for our furry friends.
Another reason pets are living longer is the increased number of pets being spayed and neutered, which has been proven to lengthen an animal’s life. For instance, according to USA Today, neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than un-spayed female dogs. If you haven’t had your pet altered contact the Yavapai Humane Society Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic today at 928-771-0547 to schedule a low-cost spay/neuter appointment. It could give your more time with your beloved pet.
We all work hard to help our pets live longer healthier lives and part of that is addressing the fact that senior pets have different care requirements than those of younger pets. But how do you know when your dog or cat is considered to be a senior?
While every animal is different, there are general guidelines to determine when they become senior citizens. Cats are considered mature at 7 to 10 years, senior at 11 to 14 years, and geriatric at 15 or older.
For dogs, it really depends on the individual dog. In general, giant breed dogs age faster than smaller breed dogs. A Great Dane is considered to be senior by roughly 5-6 years old whereas a Chihuahua is considered middle-aged then, and is not a senior until 10-11 years. Large breed dogs fall somewhere in between, for instance a Golden Retriever is considered senior by 8-10 years of age.
So how can you care for your senior pet?
Regular check-ups are essential to your pet’s health, and become even more important as your pet ages. Age related diseases can be subtle, and symptoms may be easy to miss. Through regular exams and blood tests, your veterinarian can establish a baseline of what is normal for your pet. This will help alert you when something is not right. If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior, appetite, or energy level, be sure to check with your veterinarian.
Dental care is important throughout your pet’s life but especially for seniors. Tartar build up can cause gingivitis, which can cause bacteria to get into your pet’s bloodstream, wreaking havoc on organs. A great way to contribute to your senior dog’s good health is to keep their teeth and gums in shape with at home brushing and yearly professional cleanings by your vet.
It is also vital to keep your older pet at a healthy weight because it means less stress on their body, including joints and internal organs. If you feel your pet needs to shed a few pounds talk with your veterinarian about a weight loss plan. It could add quality and quantity to their life.
And don’t forget to keep up to date on your senior pets vaccinations. Older pets are more prone to contract a wide range of illness and disease. Many of these can be prevented with through vaccinations. To keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date at a reduced cost visit Yavapai Humane Society Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic’s Friday Walk-In Vaccine Clinic located at 2989 Centerpointe East in Prescott. This clinic is offered each Friday from 8:00 am – 11:30 / 1:00 pm – 4:30.
As our pets age it is up to us to monitor their health and take measurements to keep them as healthy and happy as possible in their senior years. For more information on pet health services visit www.yavapaihumane.org/clinic