When does a pet become ‘old’?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pets are living longer now than they ever have before due to improved veterinary care and dietary habits. One consequence of this is that pets, along with their owners and veterinarians, are faced with a whole new set of age-related conditions. In recent years there has been extensive research on the problems facing older pets and how their owners and veterinarians can best handle their special needs.

Pets age at different rates based on a number of factors. Cats and small dogs are generally considered geriatric at the age of 7. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans and are considered geriatric when they are approximately 6 years of age. Owners tend to want to think of their pet’s age in human terms. While it is not as simple as “1 human year = X cat/dog years”, there are calculations that can help put a pet’s age in human terms:

Keeping Older Pets Happy and Healthy

Just like humans, there are age-related conditions to watch out for. Senior pets require increased attention including more frequent visits to the veterinarian, possible changes in diet, and in some cases alterations to their home environment. Here are some basic considerations when caring for older pets:

Courtesy of American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).