As your pets get older their behavior may change, they might be sleeping more, or become restless at night. Or they may show changes in appetite or drinking. Often dogs will slow down on their walks.
These changes are not due to aging so much as the diseases that are more commonly seen in older pets. Often older pets experience some degree of hearing loss (just like older humans) or they may lose some vision due to aging of the lenses in their eyes. These changes can lead to them becoming more anxious or reactive.
Sometimes dogs and cats become less active in their senior years and this maybe due to arthritis or heart disease. Arthritis causes discomfort and may result in dogs and cats being less willing to exercise. Heart disease can affect the circulation and the pets ability to cope with exercise and your may see shortness of breath or panting with exercise or your dog may cough when exercising.
As well as some hearing and vision loss aging pets can sometimes suffer from cognitive dysfunction as well. In dogs this may lead to agitation and restlessness at night, loss of toilet training, changes in appetite and “getting lost” in familiar surroundings. In cats the most common sign is often loud yowling at night or during the day and again appearing lost or staring into space.
Another common disease with age is kidney disease, with the most common symptoms seen being increased thirst and urination, and loss of appetite.
Hyperactive thyroid function is also quite common in older cats often leading to an increase in appetite but loss of weight, and increased irritability.
So if your pet is aging and you are concerned about any changes in their behavior, why not have them examined and checked for these problems, so that they may age gracefully and with maximum vigor and enjoyment.