As our pets age into their senior years, new health issues begin to emerge and veterinary bills begin to mount up. Though we can’t quite make our senior pets live forever, we can do our best to identify and understand the warning signs of potentially serious and costly medical issues. Monitoring behavioral changes and keeping a lookout for the tell-tale signs of serious diseases is the first step to better caring for senior pets.
Caring for Senior Pets: Behavior Changes In Older Dogs and Cats
Sometimes, the first signs of medical trouble in senior pets are behavioral changes, which can be subtle or extreme. Whether you’re caring for a senior dog or a senior cat, however, being able to detect these changes often plays a critical role in the timely diagnosis and treatment of various health issues.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), if you're caring for a senior dog or cat that begins showing any of the following signs, it may be a indicative of a more serious underlying issue. To provide the best senior pet care possible, always be on the lookout for:
- Increased reaction to sounds
- Increased vocalization
- Decreased interaction with humans
- Increased irritability
- Decreased response to commands
- Increased aggressive/protective behavior
- Increased anxiety
- House soiling
- Decreased self-hygiene or grooming
- Repetitive activity
- Increased wandering
- Change in sleep cycle
These are just a few of the more prominent warning signs of underlying health issues.
Caring for Senior Pets: Warning Signs of Diseases in Older Pets
While the signs listed above can be indicative of any number of health issues, from the arbitrary to the serious, the following symptoms are the signs to look out for to detect kidney disease, urinary tract disease and heart disease. Collectively, these three ailments are some of the biggest threats to the prolonged health and well-being of senior pets. Again, this is true whether you are caring for a senior dog or senior cat.
||Urinary Tract Disease
- Decreased appetite
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Decreased or no urination
- Poor coat
- Sore mouth
- Increase urination or "accidents" in the house
- Straining to urinate
- Blood in urine
- Difficulty breathing
- Decreased tolerance of exercise
- Decreased appetite
Caring for Senior Pets: Cancer in Older Dogs and Cats
As your dog or cat gets older, their rate of cancer increases as well. Tragically, this means that cancer is responsible for nearly 50% of deaths in pets aged 10 or older. Our pet insurance plans cover cancer treatments, as well as diagnostic tests like x-rays, blood tests and biopsies (so long as the cancer isn't showing symptoms or diagnosed prior to the effective date of the policy).
Cancer can be extremely expensive to treat. That’s why knowing what warning signs to look for is such a helpful skill when it comes to caring for senior pets. Not only does the ability to identify and treat early warning signs strengthen your odds of success, but it also helps helps keep treatment costs to a minimum.
Top 10 Common Signs of Cancer in Pets
- Abnormal swelling that persists or continues to grow
- Sores that do not heal
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
- Offensive mouth odor
- Difficulty eating or swallowing
- Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
- Persistent lameness or stiffness
- Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating
Insurance for Senior Pets
At PetFirst, we want to offer the best pet health insurance for your loved ones, from puppyhood throughout all nine of their lives.
Unlike some of our competitors, we don't have an upper age restriction for senior pet care enrollment. We allow dogs and cats ages 8 weeks and older to enroll in our pet insurance plans, making it easier for pet parents to afford veterinary care for the long haul. Though your premiums may increase as your dog or cat gets older, your pet's coverage will remain the same, and will never will be reduced or limited due to age.
With a PetFirst Lifetime medical insurance plan, you are insured for any hereditary, congenital or chronic issues that may rear their ugly heads during the later stages of your pet’s life. That because, at PetFirst, we believe the best pet health insurance plans offer not only comprehensive coverage to help you cut down costs, but invaluable peace of mind as well. Anything to make caring for your senior pets that much easier!
Review our pet insurance plans to determine what coverage best suits your elderly dog or geriatric cat. Still have questions? Check out our Pet Insurance FAQs for detailed information about our plans and coverage. Then start your free pet insurance quote online to determine which policy will best cover your older cat's or dog's needs.