weekly Scoop 12/2/2020
What are the common behavior changes in older pets?
I have three dogs. Our two morkies will be 11 years old on December 15th. The Golden mix is 81/2. I can tell they are all slowing down a bit. But they are healthy and still full of life.

Maizee, the golden, has a ghost face. She loves to walk on the beach, in our wonderful neighborhood, parks, or anywhere and can still walk a great distance; however, we can tell she is slowing down.

Sidney, one of our Morkies, is a jumper. She is showing a bit more timidness with her jumping.

Kai, the other Morkie, has arthritis in his back leg. It occasionally pops out. The good news is it pops right back in. We are careful to ensure we aren't walking him too far.

I hope we have many more years with them. But we learning how to care for our aging pets. Our vets are great and help us with their specific care needs.

I have compiled a few articles which will also help us all know what to look for as our pets age and how to care for them.

If you have an older pet, you may already be seeing signs of age. Please ask your vet how you can ensure your pet is comfortable, safe, and cared for as they age. I hope these articles provide you with helpful information.

Sidney and Kai 11 yrs old
Senior Pets - When does a pet become "old"?
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
Thanks to better care, pets are living longer now than they ever have before – but as pets get older, they need extra care and attention. 
Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet.

When does a pet become “old”?
It varies, but cats and small dogs are generally considered “senior” at seven years of age. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans compared to smaller breeds and are often considered senior when they are 5 to 6 years of age. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not age at a rate of 7 human years for each year in dog years.
Age is not a disease. Although senior pets may develop age-related problems, good care allows them to live happy, healthy and active lives in their senior years.

Do Senior Dogs and Cats Need Vaccinations?
I hear this question a lot in my practice, and it's a good one: Does my senior dog or cat still need vaccinations? As with so many things in veterinary medicine, it depends.

Some pet owners tend to think of parvo and distemper in dogs and feline panleukopenia, calicivirus and herpesvirus in cats as diseases that only affect puppies and kittens. By the time our pets are 8, 10 or 12 years — or older — they should have been vaccinated for these diseases several times in their lives: the first few times as puppies or kittens, a booster at one year and then boosters every three years, as recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners. So how likely is it that they are going to get one of these diseases in their golden years?

The short answer is that older pets have little risk of developing these infectious diseases if they were effectively vaccinated as puppies or kittens and developed an immune response. But that doesn’t mean there is no risk to an older pet.

6 Simple Tips for Exercising Your Senior Cat
Posts by: Dr. Mike Paul, DVM
I have always said that if you get a couple of kittens, you can cancel your cable subscription. Kittens are fuzzy little packages of boundless energy that can amuse themselves and you for hours on end. As our cats get older and enter into their senior years, however, they become more sedentary; according to Cornell University, that in turn makes them more prone to obesity which puts them at increased risk of other serious, medical conditions such as:

Unfortunately, your cat is not likely to ever walk past a mirror, catch a glimpse of herself, and vow to eat less and exercise more. And not every cat is going to be up for taking leash walks. So here are some simple tips to get your senior cat up and moving more.

Exercise for Your Senior Dog
PetMD Editorial
Types of Outdoor Exercise for Senior Dogs

As a senior your dog should still be getting regular walks throughout the week, but keep them short and try not to overdo it if your pet is experiencing any kind of condition. Dr. Lobprise recommends talking with your vet to make sure you know how much your pet is capable of and what a comfortable distance will be for them to walk each day.

Swimming is another excellent activity to help exercise the muscles without hurting joints. According to Dr. Lobprise, swimming is also an excellent part of a therapy routine for dogs that have some sort of injury.

Dogs with physical limitations may want to keep moving, running after balls and jumping for Frisbees as they used to, but likely don’t have the stamina. “Limit non-stop games of fetch, swimming for long periods and walking in deep grass or sand for too long — these activities, while fun, will be very fatiguing after extended periods of time,” Berryhill said.

You’ll also want to recognize your senior dog’s sensitivity to temperatures both hot and cold. Keep them hydrated and in the shade in the heat, especially if they’re overweight or are a brachycephalic breed like Bulldogs or Pugs.