As your beloved pet ages, you may notice concerning behavior changes. While some differences may not seem significant, they must be reported to your veterinarian, especially as animals begin their senior years. Urgency is key as some symptoms can be caused by medical problems that demand immediate attention.
Advances in medical technology are helping aging pets live out their senior years in comfort and with good health. Don't hesitate if you are concerned they are developing difficulties you feel must be addressed.
Don't ignore the signs
Sometimes owners overlook changes in their pets and dismiss it as merely a circumstance of growing older. But some signs of getting older are really signs of illness. Simple tests of blood and urine can rule out serious organ diseases and help you create a strategy to improve your pet's quality of life.
To understand what you are looking for in terms of changes to your pet's demeanor, here are some common problems associated with aging, per the American Veterinarian.
Musculoskeletal Issues: May cause signs of aggression while lying down and are forced to move or excessive licking of their feet or joints.
Gastroenteritis Disorder: Animals suffering from a GI problem will often display aggressive tendencies toward people while eating. This disorder commonly causes anxiety and can lead to destructive behaviors including biting and chewing.
Arthritis: An extremely common disease in aging pets, arthritis is easily spotted when animals show discomfort when moving or are hesitant to climb stairs or leap to high areas. The irritability sometimes leads to them acting out, aggressively.
When is your pet a senior?
You have probably heard the rule that one year for humans equals seven years for dogs. It's not that simple. Animals age at different paces depending on breed, size and overall health. As a general guideline, the Loving Care Pet Hospital suggests cats and small dogs are considered seniors at the age of seven, where larger dogs reach the milestone at five or six. Regular visits to a veterinarian are important to best determine your aging pet's need for increased medical attention.