Don’t Fall for These 4 Myths About Older Pets
If you ask any pet owner, they’ll likely tell you they wish their cat or dog could live forever. But despite the increase in the average life span of dogs and cats in recent years and the significant advances in health-management strategies for senior pets, many owners make mistakes when it comes to their older pets’ health.
In many cases, that’s because they tend to assume things like a decline in activity or more finicky appetite just comes with old age, when in fact they might be signs of illness that can often be managed with the help of a veterinarian. Those assumptions are often a result of outdated or incorrect information.
In the gallery below, we’ll bust four common myths about senior pets so you can keep yours healthier in his golden years.
Myth 1: It’s Just Old Age
Don’t hesitate to schedule an examination for your pet if you notice any of these common signs that owners often attribute to age: reduced activity level, weight loss, changes in appetite, increased drinking or urination, limping or stiffness, decreased vision, or periods of disorientation or confusion.
Myth 2: Nothing Can Be Done
If you notice these signs, don’t assume that nothing can be done to make your pet more comfortable. Talk with your vet about options for helping your pet. Special diets for senior pets, exercise, weight control and dental care can help slow the progression of many of the conditions associated with these signs.
Myth 3: Senior Pets Only Need Yearly Checkups
If your vet sees your pet every six months, you have a better chance of catching and addressing problems early. And certain signs may indicate a serious condition that requires immediate attention, such as: shortness of breath; a persistent cough; drinking more water; yellow or orange tint to the eyes, mouth and skin; or black stools. If your dog or cat exhibits any of those signs — whether he's a senior or not — don’t delay in getting him to the vet for a checkup.
Myth 4: Anesthesia Is Too Risky for Seniors
Luckily, there have been improvements in the safety of anesthesia, thanks to recommended blood and urine screening, safer anesthetic drugs and protocols and newer patient-monitoring equipment. All of this means there are reasons to consider continuing your pet’s dental cleanings as he ages, especially when compared with the negative effects that chronic dental disease can have on your pet’s well-being. Talk with your vet about whether anesthesia is right for your dog or cat.