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How to Care for Middle Age Cats and Dogs

How should you support a dog or cat that is getting older?

“Pet Boomers,” middle age dogs and cats, are in a critical time of life when it comes to their health. Addressing health problems at this age can often prevent “old pet” issues later on.

What is the Most Common Disease in Older Cats?

While middle age cats can face feline arthritis, kidney disease is the number one issue in older felines. Blood work should be done before age eight to detect the issue early. Research is ongoing as to why cats have kidney disease at high rates, but early detection allows for oral treatments to slow down uremic buildup, helping manage the disease. Medication to control high blood pressure and prescription cat food to manage kidney disease are also important and can be prescribed by your veterinarian.

Other disorders in older cats causing weight loss include hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus. Discuss testing your middle age cat for these disorders with your veterinary professional.

Do Cats Get More Hairballs as They Age?

Hairballs in older cats can be an issue due to excess shedding. Vitamins and fatty acids can help. Old cats with decreased appetite often lose their ability to smell. Putting salmon oil on food helps with loss of appetite, improves the ability to smell food, and helps hairballs pass. If a cat is getting hairballs, fatty acid supplements made with salmon oil can help correct excess shedding.

Common Middle Age Dog Health Issues

Middle age dogs can also have kidney disease, but their biggest health issue is arthritis. As they age and get sore, they move less and lose muscle mass in their legs and hips. You can ease the soreness and keep them active with appropriate pain relief and supplements. It takes three to four weeks for these to take effect, so don't give up too soon.

Glucosamine and chondroitin products can delay the onset of arthritis and improve movement. The source of these supplements is crucial, so ensure you are using a quality product.

Regular short walks can help maintain strength in middle-aged dogs. Keeping joints in motion helps maintain their functionality.

Older dogs may benefit from prescription pet foods and medications. Once your veterinarian assesses your older dog’s kidney and liver health, they can prescribe appropriate medications to manage their conditions.

How Do You Keep a Dog or Cat Healthy As They Age?

Effective vitamin use for dogs and cats is important. Older pets, along with the young and mothers, benefit most from vitamin use. They require more nutrients but tend to absorb less from their diet. A good vitamin option can provide the extra nutrients they need.

Introducing new products to cats can be challenging. They have a natural distrust for new tastes, so start small and give them a chance to taste it on their own. Wipe a small amount on their paw to let them clean it off, and after they accept it, you can put it on their food.

For older dogs, a multi-vitamin can help provide nutrients they may be missing due to lowered food intake or loss of appetite. This can help support their muscles, bones, eyes, heart, brain function, and energy levels.

Do Cats and Dogs Fur Change As They Get Older?

Dull hair coats, excessive shedding, and thin hair in older dogs and cats are often not just due to age. These coat changes can be corrected with fatty acids, which may be lacking in their diet or their absorption may have decreased with age. Fatty acid supplements can correct these issues, but it takes approximately six weeks for the treatment to take effect. If the coat does not improve, discuss testing your older dog for thyroid dysfunction.

For more information and resources, visit

Elderly dog


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