We know that caring for a senior pet can be challenging. We also know that you want your pet to have the best life possible for as long as possible. Learn from Rover, who writes to his pet parents with advice and appreciation about growing older.
Dear Mom and Dad,
From the moment you brought me home 10 years ago, I knew I would spend the rest of my days with you. It’s incredible how quickly those years have flown by. I know I am not the same lively puppy you brought home that day—my needs have changed, and caring for me can be challenging at times. Communicating how I feel is difficult, so I’m writing to you with some advice on caring for me as I age.
I never thought I’d say this, but take me to my veterinarian at least twice a year. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a 10-year-old large-breed dog like me is roughly the same age as a 65-year-old person. Dogs and cats age much more quickly than people and, while age itself is not a disease, many health conditions are age-related. Since diseases typically progress more rapidly in pets, I need to be examined more frequently to catch early signs of illness. Some common age-related diseases in pets include kidney and liver disease, heart problems, arthritis, and cancer. My veterinarian will probably recommend blood work, thyroid testing, and urine testing once a year. These veterinary visits are also great opportunities for you as pet parents to discuss any changes you observe at home.
You may notice I’m not as eager to go on long walks anymore. While I still enjoy a short, leisurely stroll, getting around is becoming much harder. I am fairly stoic, so I try to hide the discomfort I feel in my muscles and joints, but my gingerly pace is a subtle clue that I am in pain. The rugs you laid down on the hardwood floors were a great idea. They give me a better grip under my feet when I have difficulty rising and walking. The ramps you installed to help me get in and out of the house and car help tremendously. Maybe my veterinarian has some other suggestions, as well.
I used to have a keen sense of hearing. I knew the unique purr of your car’s engine as it pulled into the driveway, and I eagerly greeted you at the front door. I don’t always hear you come home these days, but I am as happy as ever to see you.
Sometimes I don’t make it through the doggy door, and I occasionally have an accident in the house. I feel bad when this happens, and sometimes I feel a little down. Thank you for being patient with me when I’m not feeling 100 percent.
My appetite isn’t what it used to be, either. My metabolism may be slowing down, or maybe I’m becoming picky. At any rate, you should discuss some of these changes with my veterinarian, in case there is a more concerning cause for my symptoms.
I’m not as adaptable as I was in my younger years, so I appreciate it when you don’t change my environment or routine too abruptly. I may not be able to run three miles with you anymore, but I cherish our outdoor time together every morning. Sitting in the shade or a gentle game of fetch helps keep my spirits up and allows a pattern to my day.
My vision isn’t as sharp as it used to be, so please refrain from rearranging the furniture in the house. I may accidentally bump into things if they are moved unexpectedly. Plus, I love the way the sun beams down on my favorite couch spot in the late afternoon. I recently heard you discussing adopting a new puppy. I’ve always gotten along well with other dogs, but I don’t know that I have the energy to keep up with a playful puppy. I also don’t have the patience to correct his behavior when he inevitably bites my tail or steals my place on the bed. Please consider this before bringing home a new, energetic furry friend.
I know I may be asking a lot. After all, that young dog you brought home all of those years ago was easy to take on car trips, willing to run for hours on end, and didn’t need much more than food, love, and play. My needs may have changed, but my devotion to you is endless. Thank you for continuing to love and look after me as time passes. Thank you for allowing me to thrive in my senior years.
With big, sloppy kisses,
You can contact us here to schedule a wellness exam for your senior pet.