If you’re like me, it breaks your heart to see your old dog suffering, yet you feel helpless in terms of improving the situation. Now, thanks to the American Animal Hospital Association, you’ve got some tips to ensure your pet lives comfortably during the senior life stage. Engage your vet to build a wellness plan with you for your companion. You’ll feel better – and so will your old dog.
Ensure Your Pet Lives Comfortably During the Senior Life Stage
“Pets experience pain just like humans do, and AAHA recommends veterinarians take steps to identify, prevent, and minimize pain in all senior dogs and cats. The AAHA guidelines encourage veterinarians to use pain assessment as the fourth vital sign (along with temperature, pulse and respiration). The different types of pain include acute pain, which comes on suddenly as a result of an injury, surgery, or an infection, and chronic pain, which is long lasting and usually develops slowly (such as arthritis). You can play a key role in monitoring your pet to determine whether he suffers from pain. For more information, see our article on Pain Management for Pets. To help ensure your pet lives comfortably during the senior life stage, it’s critical to work with your veterinarian to tailor a senior wellness plan that is best for your dog or cat. Be sure to monitor behavior and physical conditions and report anything unusual to your veterinarian, who can help your pet head into the twilight years with ease.
Signs of a Problem:
- Sustained, significant increase in water consumption or urination
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Significant decrease in appetite or failure to eat for more than two days
- Significant increase in appetite
- Repeated vomiting
- Diarrhea lasting over three days
- Difficulty in passing stool or urine
- Change in housebreaking
- Lameness lasting more than five days or lameness in more than one leg
- Noticeable decrease in vision
- Open sores or scabs on the skin that persist for more than one week
- Foul mouth odor or drooling that lasts more than two days
- Increasing size of the abdomen
- Increasing inactivity or amount of time spent sleeping
- Hair loss, especially if accompanied by scratching or if in specific areas (as opposed to generalized)
- Excessive panting
- Inability to chew dry food
- Blood in stool or urine
- Sudden collapse or bout of weakness
- A seizure (convulsion)
- Persistent coughing or gagging
- Breathing heavily or rapidly at rest
Read more here.
One thing I did when my Golden Retriever was in his final years was to be sure there was a water bowl in every room so he didn’t have to walk to the kitchen whenever he was thirsty. I’m sure our readers have many more tips to ensure your pet lives comfortably during the senior life stage. If you have a tip, please share it below.