Overweight pets and older pets can start to develop problems associated with their weight or age. I’m sure you have heard the rule that the way to age pets is to take their age in human years and multiply that by 7. So, a 5 year old dog would be 35 in dog years.
The new rule of 7 is that you should consider your pet a senior when they reach the age of 7 years old. For giant breeds, this would actually be 5 years of age. Overwight pets age prematurely and may exhibit some of the signs of old age at an earlier age.
If your pet is overweight or over 7 years old (over 5 years for giant breeds), you should have your vet start administering senior pet exams. Begin with a complete physical examination to determine a baseline of health for your pet and/or to rule out any medical reason your pet may be overweight. Lab tests should include the following.
1. Blood count
3. Liver and Kidney
4. Chemistry Panel
5. Blood Pressure
6. Oral Health including teeth, gums, and mouth
7. Thyroxine (T4)
8. Heart Function
10. Complete Blood Panel
11. X-Rays (only if recommended by your veterinarian)
If your pet is overweight, they may experience common problems usually only seen in older pets. Please, get your pet on a weight
loss plan which will decrease chances of disease, and will increase their life expectancy.
Older pets should have a senior exam every year. Pets that have developed a problem should have this type of exam every six months, or as recommended by your veterinarian.
Reference: Pet First Aid and Care Handbook
Author Thom Somes
Pet Tech, Pet First Aid Training Center