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How Geriatric Pet Care Differs From Care for Younger Pets

Your pets may be aging faster than you are. They may need various care styles as they grow older to help their quality of life. Aging should be a natural occurrence for your furry companions, as with human beings. These changes mean they may need individualized care and attention to help make their lives easier.


Life Stages of a Pet


A pet has different life stages. Your veterinarian can distinguish them in four stages:


  • Kitten/puppy stage
  • Adult stage
  • Senior stage
  • Geriatric stage


Is the Senior Stage the Same As the Geriatric Stage?


The senior stage and geriatric stage often become linked as one. However, the two stages have significant differences. Senior pets become defined more with their age. They are those that may need dietary and exercise adjustments. However, geriatric pets require individualized focus and attention as they may be in the last stages of their life. They need more care and comfort than other pets.


What Is Different About Geriatric Pets?


Geriatric pets experience changes in their organs, biological systems, and metabolism. As a result, the functions of their bodies begin to deteriorate slowly. They experience health issues that require help and veterinary intervention to help them before death.


You will notice a change of senses in your pet. They may begin losing weight or losing appetite as their basic senses of smell, taste, hearing, and sight deteriorate. Their immune system also becomes weak, and they become more prone to diseases than younger pets.


They also experience behavioral changes when they grow older. They become less affectionate compared to when they were younger, and may even stop doing things for you as they used to. They may begin meowing or barking for no valid reason as their orientation and memory become affected with old age.


Problems Geriatric Pets Face That Younger Pets Do Not


Below are some of the issues faced by geriatric pets that younger pets may not experience:


  • Mobility changes
  • Dementia and anxiety
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Pain
  • Reduced strength
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Dental disease
  • Kidney disease


Geriatric pets have cognitive problems and experience increased anxiety. They have less mobility due to diminished strength. They also have sight and hearing problems and thus need more attention.


The Difference Between Geriatric Pet Care and Care for Younger Pets


Geriatric pet care is more individualized. It focuses on giving the pets a quality life as they experience all the changes that put a strain on their bodies. The caregivers offer the best as the pets near the end of their life. In younger pet care, the focus aims at keeping the pet healthy and strong enough to protect them from diseases that may harm them—things like vaccinations, spaying, or neutering. It aims at veterinarian visits and safe socializing and playing.


Geriatric pet care also involves having the terminally ill pet cared for in a home or facility with the option of euthanasia. Their quality of life and comfort matter more during their last stages of life.


For more about geriatric pet care, call South Willamette Veterinary Clinic at (541) 313-3352 to reach our office in Creswell, Oregon.

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