We have often heard that dogs age seven years for every one “human” year. For cats and small breed dogs, the ratio is about six years to one, but giant breed dogs age more rapidly, at a rate of about nine to one. Generally, the heavier a pet is, the shorter the lifespan. This is not to scare those of us who love our big dogs, but just to get us thinking about the different needs each individual pet may have.
We recommend annual physical exams for all pets, just as your physician recommends for you and your family. Our veterinarians recommend exams twice a year for senior pets (or anytime there is a significant change in personality or health). Can you imagine your grandmother visiting the doctor only once every five years? Think of all the changes that occur in that time frame – and pets undergo the same types of changes in a compressed time frame.
How do you know if it is time for your older pet to come see the veterinarians at Claus Paws Animal Hospital? If you are noticing these changes, it may be time to bring your dog or cat for a check-up:
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Increased thirst and urination
- Changes in activity level
- Difficulty getting up or laying down
- Changes in urination or defecation habits
- Inappropriate urination
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Soft stool or diarrhea
- Vomiting or lack of appetite
- Changes in vision or hearing
- Skin condition/hair coat changes
- Changes in social behaviors
- Staying away from family
- Growling/biting at other pets of people
- Seems confused or lost in the home
All of us at Claus Paws have lived with aging pets, and we also see them come in with clients every day. If you have noticed these changes or have other concerns, please feel free to call and talk to our knowledgeable staff. We believe that if you are concerned enough to call, it may be time for an exam. It is easier to treat disease processes in an early stage, rather than trying to “catch up” with an advanced problem. Bringing your senior pet in for regular exams helps keep them healthier, for longer lives!