Here are some things to watch for and action to take:
- Sudden loss of weight or serious loss of appetite -- to the point that your dog or cat is eating almost nothing. See your vet right away.
- Increase in appetite without an increase in weight may mean diabetes or thyroid problems. Get to the vet as soon as possible.
- Diarrhea or vomiting, if lasting more than a day can be a sign of many problems. Don't wait to see the vet.
- Increased thirst, without a change in activity level, and increased urination can be symptoms of serious problems. Your pet should be tested as soon as possible.
- Tiring more quickly than when younger is normal as a pet ages, but may also be a sign of disease affecting the heart or lungs. Be alert to your pet becoming excessively out of breath after minimal exercise.
- Coughing and excessive panting may indicate heart disease or asthma. If these symptoms persist after you've modified your pet's exercise program, visit the vet.
- Difficulty in getting up from a lying position, or other problems with moving may indicate arthritis. Your vet will be able to advise you on ways you can relieve your pet's discomfort.
- Problems with vision and hearing are natural as a dog or cat ages. Accommodate these changes as best you can -- by not changing the location of furniture, for example, or clapping instead of calling your pet's name when he no longer seems able to hear you.
- Graying hair and drying skin are sure signs of aging. More attention to grooming will help the condition of the skin and coat.
- Separation anxiety....you may note that when you leave your older dog alone, she becomes destructive or barks or whines or loses control of elimination
- Sensitivity to noise....thunderstorms that never bothered him before may now make your older dog tremble.
- Vocalizing....may be due to loss of hearing or to separation anxiety.
- Uncharacteristic aggression....may be due to painful joints, a drug reaction, or intolerance for new people and new circumstances; your older dog likes things to remain the same.
- Confusion, lack of attentiveness, disorientation....
- Roaming in circles, barking at nothing, being withdrawn....
- Elimination accidents....
The Ten Most Important Thing to Keep Your Senior Pet Healthy