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Most pets do not live as long as their human owners, so knowing how to best care for an aging animal is important for a pet owner. With improved preventative care, veterinary knowledge and dietary habits, animals are living longer than they ever have in the past.

Is My Pet “Old?”

Many owners aren’t sure when their pet should even be considered geriatric. Every breed and pet varies, but most cats and small dog breeds live 10-20 years and are considered fairly old by the age of 7. Larger dog breeds typically have shorter life spans (8-12) and are considered old by the age of 6.

Visiting Your Veterinarian in Brewster

One of the best ways to keep your pet healthy and comfortable well in to old age is to increase visits to your pet’s veterinarian in Brewster. By scheduling your geriatric pet for preventative care checkups semi-annually, your vet will catch health concerns before they become serious and too expensive to deal with. Pet exams for older animals are usually more in-depth, including dental care and checks of your pet’s heart, eyes, ears and possible lumps.

Tips for Senior Pet Care

As your veterinarian in Brewster, there are many things we will encourage you to consider for the health of your aging pet.

  • Introduce digestible food with specific ingredients and nutrients for older pets
  • Controlling common problems of weight gain in older dogs and weight loss in older cats
  • Appropriate exercise to keep an older pet mobile
  • Possible changes in vaccinations
  • Watching for signs of behavior and mental health changes
  • Special environmental considerations for aging pets
  • Home remedy tips for your pet’s specific condition

Our skilled veterinarians will also help you make the difficult choice of euthanizing your pet if the time comes. With a scale to determine your pet’s quality of life, we can help you consider whether merciful care means relief of suffering when the choice isn’t very clear.

Common Problems for Aging Pets

Some of the most common issues, especially for dogs, include:

  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Intestine problems
  • Reproductive disease
  • Diabetes
  • Joint disease, including arthritis
  • Slowed brain function

Older animals frequently struggle with regulating their body temperatures, so they should be kept warm and dry. Your geriatric pet should spend their time indoors unless they are outside to exercise with you, since older animals are much more sensitive to the elements.

Thinking Ahead

Did you know you can purchase health insurance for your pet? Some pet owners purchase pet insurance from organizations like the ASPCA to reduce the cost of preventative care bills. To prepare your pet for old age, you will also want to:

  • Brush teeth regularly to avoid rotting/missing teeth and bacterial infection later
  • Call your vet as soon as you see symptoms, including incontinence, constipation, diarrhea, lumps, weight changes, lost appetite, constipation, limping and unusual behavior
  • Exercise your pet, avoiding early joint, muscle and weight problems


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