One of the things that people often ask us about their senior pets is what should they eat. The pet food industry has done a good job marketing specific diets to the senior pet demographic, and yet, just because your pet has reached a certain age doesn’t mean that a general “senior” pet diet will be right for him or her. In fact, many older pets do best on a traditional “adult” food long after they’ve hit that senior age bracket.
Agreement is easily reached that preservation of quality of life is the primary goal during the final months and years of our pets’ lives. Based on our practice, we believe that the daily life experience of our elderly patients improves if their pain is lessened. Alleviation of pain requires recognition of pain, followed by attempts at modification of pain. Ultimately, treatment is shaped over time by evaluation of response to therapy.
Just like you and me, our pets can lose hearing or vision in their golden years. Dogs and cats often can compensate well with these losses, partly because they rely more heavily than we do on their other senses like smell. But smell can be another sense that weakens with age.
As your dog ages, health changes can lead to lapses in house breaking. This is a frustrating problem for both you and your pet. It’s important that senior dogs receive regular physical exams and that house soiling issues are appropriately evaluated and addressed.