Loyal senior pets deserve the best in veterinary care. Your True Care professionals offer compassionate care for senior pets to minimize the effects of painful conditions related to the aging process, reduce the occurrence of debilitating disease, and add healthy years to your pet’s life.
By age 7—earlier for pocket pets—most small animal companions are considered “seniors” and may experience a variety of age-related changes. With quality veterinary care and a focus on healthy lifestyle choices, most pet owners find their old friend to be happier, more comfortable, and active for many years.
What to Look for in a Senior Pet
Older pets may experience changes that are subtle and gradual, or they may come on suddenly—every pet is different. As a pet owner, you want to be aware of any change in your pet and bring that information to your regular visit to True Care Veterinary Hospital. Together, we will address the changes you have noticed and initiate treatment modalities as needed.
Changes you may see include:
These are typical of aging and often the first noticed, such as stiffness, struggles with mobility, or changes in physical condition. You may also notice your pet develops occasional inappropriate elimination. The kidneys are one of the first organs to wear out in a dog or cat, and daytime accidents or nighttime urine leakage may occur. Of course, excessive urination may be a sign of kidney failure or diabetes, both treatable if caught early.
This slower response to external stimuli can be seen in any of the major senses—sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. These may be difficult for pet owners to identify—perhaps a lack of interest in food or a slow response at attempts to engage in play—and we recommend you discuss these concerns with your veterinarian at your regular visit.
Cognitive changes may be demonstrated by behaviors such as forgetfulness, confusion, depression, or aggression. Behaviors that are puzzling, radically different, or seem to come and go are often symptoms of an underlying, more serious problem. It is often possible to treat these issues if caught before they have progressed too far.
The following behaviors may be indicators of a serious medical problem in any pet:
- Decrease in appetite
- Increase in drinking or urination
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Frequent vomiting or diarrhea
- Breathing heavily at rest
- Bad breath or drooling
- Coughing during exertion
- Blood in stool or urine
- Lameness or limping
- Trouble rising or moving
- Dull or dry coat
- Lumps, bumps, or swellings
- Sudden collapse
Should your senior pet exhibit any of these symptoms, contact us immediately for guidance.
Positive Steps for Senior Pets
A practical approach to supporting the health and vigor of your aging pet includes nutrition, exercise, and regular dental care. You and your True Care veterinarian will create a plan for your pet that may include the following:
- Veterinary exams 3 times a year
- Regular oral exams and dental cleanings
- Senior lab work, including blood screening, urinalysis, and parasite testing
- Hearing and eye exams
- Diet and nutrition
- Exercise plan
For senior pets with chronic problems, such as arthritis, we may include a pain management plan to keep your pet comfortable and active.
Owners of aging pets will benefit from enrolling in the True Care Pet Health Program, which includes three visits annually and no charge for necessary vaccines. Visit the iCare pet health program page for more about this great support for pet owners.
For additional information, read this article, Senior Pet Care, on the Healthy Pet website of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).
Molly and Oscar have been patients of Dr. Tullio for several years. I have been very pleased with his care‚ his expertise‚ and his understanding with my two Wheatens. Dr. Tullio has been quick to diagnose any issues and remedy all of the problems we’ve had. I look forward to many more years working with Dr. Tullio. I wish him well in his venture.
When my parents’ dog Kya died very suddenly a few years ago‚ their regular vet was not at work that day. But thankfully‚ Dr. Tullio was and treated my parents and their dog as if he was their doctor for the past 15 years—doing everything he could to try and revive Kya and by being so compassionate to my parents in the waiting room after having to deliver the sad news. We truly can’t say enough nice things about Dr. Tullio and can’t wait for him to open his new facility! Thank you.
—Lori Forrest & Bob Leahy
Dr. Tullio has always treated our dogs with great knowledge‚ care‚ and compassion‚ and we have grown to know him quite well. We have been so completely impressed with Dr. Tullio’s consistent excellence in care and services that we wanted to share our experience with others. We are pleased to recommend as the place to go for both quality treatment and compassionate care for your furry family members.
Doctor Tullio is a kind, caring gentleman who has cared for my cocker spaniels for many years now. He has always been helpful‚ honest‚ and understanding with my pets and me. He is a man I trust completely and have and do refer others to him. Any pet owner can feel safe and secure in trusting their beloved pets to his skilled hands.
—Margaret Rowe‚ Howell‚ NJ