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All animal welfare waiting pay special attention to the aging of our four-legged friends. The veterinarians who treat them realize that their life expectancy is increasing. Thanks to the progress of veterinary medicine, the nutrition, the food, very sharp searches in geriatrics, in gerontology and natural supplements, our life and that of our pets largely lengthened.

Aging is what?

Old age is not a disease, but a normal evolution of all living things. It settles gradually in the last third of life. It is unfortunately irreversible. All systems slow down and weaken, both the digestive, urinary, cardiac, nervous, reproductive and musculoskeletal systems. This will naturally lead to a marked decrease in faculties.

At what age, will my pet, be a little old man?

There is a big variation. Unfortunately, not everyone is equal. The race, the weight—obese or not—their way of life, genetics and of the race of the quality of care provided by their life by their owner.

Dogs:

  • Small breeds of dogs—Yorkshire, Pekingese, Pomeranian
    will be diminished by 9 to 10 years.
  • Medium and large breeds—German Shepherd, Irish Setter, Labrador
    will see their third age around 7 years old.
  • Giant breeds—Newfoundland, Danes
    the weakening of the forces will be felt earlier, towards 5 to 6 years.

Cats:

All the experts are unanimous, the old age settles progressively towards the age of 8 to 10 years.

What are the signs of aging?

Older animal is a little more fragile. White hairs will appear near the snout and on the head. The coat will be dull and completely bareback.

What can I do to help?

Regular visits to the veterinarian who, by his good care (examination, analyzes, radiography, etc.) will delay or improve certain unpleasant conditions. Some owners will use herbal medicine (natural supplements), homeopathy, acupuncture and osteopathy.

  • Monitor his environment: he will need a great time in a quiet and comfortable place.
  • The steps outside must be adapted to its mobility, which is probably reduced.
  • Brushing, non-vigorous, will allow you to check for bumps, warts or parasites.
  • Your pet will tend to drink more. Do not restrict it even if it urinates more often.

Its diet must be reviewed, it is one of your great responsibilities. Older animals have different nutritional needs. It is necessary to increase some nutrients and to decrease others. Many owners give their animals’ food in their nutritional needs, thus accentuating the problems mentioned above.

The progress acquired on the canine and feline nutrition during the last 30 years allowed to obtain longevity largely increased for our pets. The ultimate purpose of this reflection being is to slow down the metabolic changes associated with the ageing, while increasing its quality of life and so possible its longevity.

Different signs of entering into the “third age”:

  • Animal runs less, gets tired faster, the stairs are more difficult. You may notice that the animal likes caresses less because they are possibly painful.
  • It will monitor cysts or warts, and bumps of all kinds. This is important because tumours are common in our older animals.
  • The animal has a strong tendency to obesity. (It works less so less exercise.)
  • Appearance of cataracts, deafness. The eyes are often bluish.
  • Loss of appetite for a few days, then suddenly a fierce appetite which will bring diarrhea and/or constipation.
  • Your cat will play much less, sleeping most of the day. He will not jump on his condo anymore.
  • He may have cognitive problems, that is, unusual movements such as walking in the middle of the house or fixing a point on the wall.
  • He may fall back into childhood, not remembering the rules of cleanliness.

Note: It is your responsibility to watch him, to help him and to be compassionate towards him. He brought you many joys throughout the life he shared with you. He deserves good care and a good quality of life.

@ Raymond Racicot, veterinary doctor

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