Blog Post

Mar 7 | Loni Patke

How to care for an aging pet

You might say I rescued my Rosie girl, a miniature dachshund, but the truth is she rescued me.

Thirteen years ago, I enjoyed college but still felt lonely at times, miss- ing family and friends back home in Jackson. I searched numerous places until I found the perfect
‘apartment dog.’ Rosie has experienced college life, married life, a move back home to Southeast Missouri and more. She loves shopping, attend- ing sporting events and traveling.

As a veterinarian, I recognize my sweet Rosie is embracing her golden years. Remember,forevery year that passes, dogs age by seven years. When a pet reaches six or seven years old, they are considered to be aging. Many small breed dogs, like Rosie, live between 12 and 15 years.

Rosie sleeps more frequently now. Instead of running to greet me, I have to wake her up for those evening snuggles.

She doesn’t always hear me calling her name to come back indoors, which indicates hearing loss.

When I see Rosie affected by her disc disease, experi- encing muscle tremors, or when she stops moving her head to look around, I start her on medication to relieve those symptoms, which are typical for her breed.

At Cape Small Animal Clinic, we feel age is not a disease. To make it more manageable for your pet to be happier, pay close attention to these behav- iors: drinking, appetite, bathroom habits, sleep- ing patterns, coughing or respiratory changes, and skin/coat condition.

Scheduling routine well- ness visits and regular dental cleanings is vital. We recommend routine lab work and even X-rays. This helps establish a base- line for us to compare, in case the day arrives when your pet is in more serious health.

Together, as pet owners and veterinarians, we can help ensure your pet’s golden years are their best years. After all, caring for Rosie in this stage of life is the least we can do for the unconditional love she has given us for 13 years.