Understanding common emergencies in senior pets and how to prevent them.

Julia Dicconson
Content Manager
August 23, 2023

Senior pets bring a wealth of joy and companionship to our lives. As our furry friends age, it's essential to be prepared for potential emergencies that may arise. 

Just like humans, senior pets are susceptible to certain health issues and emergencies that require prompt attention and care. In this article, we'll explore common emergencies that senior pets might face and how to handle them effectively.

Recognising the signs of distress.

Identifying cardiovascular issues.

Senior pets are prone to cardiovascular problems, which can lead to severe health concerns. Watch for signs such as laboured breathing, coughing, and lethargy. These symptoms could indicate heart disease or congestive heart failure. If you start to notice any of these signs and the onset is quite sudden, you should seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Gastrointestinal distress.

Digestive issues can strike senior pets unexpectedly. Vomiting, diarrhoea, and constipation are red flags that warrant attention. These symptoms might signify a range of problems, from a minor stomach upset to more severe conditions. Timely intervention is key to preventing further complications.

Responding to emergencies.

Dealing with fractures.

Accidents can happen, and senior pets might suffer fractures due to falls or other mishaps. If you suspect a fracture, avoid moving your pet unnecessarily and seek veterinary help immediately. Splinting might be necessary to stabilise the injury before transportation.

Addressing respiratory distress.

Laboured breathing or panting can be indicative of respiratory issues in senior pets. This could stem from various causes, including lung disease or even allergies. Provide a calm environment for your pet and consult a vet to determine the underlying cause and proper treatment.

Taking preventive measures.

Embracing a balanced diet.

Proper nutrition is a cornerstone of senior pet care. A well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients helps maintain their overall health and minimises the risk of certain health issues. Consult your veterinarian to devise a diet plan tailored to your pet's individual needs.

Regular exercise and check-ups.

Physical activity plays a vital role in keeping senior pets in good shape. Engage your pet in light exercises to promote joint mobility and mental stimulation. Additionally, routine check-ups with the vet can help catch potential problems early on, ensuring timely intervention.

Low-impact exercises for joint health.

For those struggling more with their joints and mobility, iIncorporating low-impact exercises into their routine can be immensely beneficial. Gentle short walks, swimming, and controlled movements can help maintain joint flexibility and muscle strength. Consult your veterinarian for tailored exercise recommendations suitable for your pet's specific needs.

Removing hazards.

Senior pets, especially those with limited vision or mobility, are more susceptible to accidents. Remove potential hazards from their living spaces, such as sharp objects, clutter, or obstacles that could trip them and cause muscle sprains, ligament tears and broken bones. A safe environment minimises the risk of injuries.

Installing pet-friendly ramps and stairs.

If your pet experiences difficulty climbing stairs or getting in and out of vehicles, consider installing ramps or pet-friendly stairs. These aids can significantly improve your pet's mobility and confidence. Senior pets may also struggle to move on on slippery floors, which can cause musculoskeletal injuries as they slip across slick surfaces. You can put down carpet runners or even yoga mats to help ease their journey through the home.

Transitioning gracefully.

Reaching the golden years of our senior pets’ lives is incredibly special, but can come with new challenges, requiring extra care and attention. Being aware of potential emergencies and their signs equips us to provide the best possible care for our furry companions. By staying vigilant, seeking professional guidance, and prioritising preventive measures, we can help our senior pets enjoy their golden years to the fullest.

Don’t wait until the very end. It’s important to consider your pet’s end-of-life journey early, so that you, your family and your pet are all supported through the process.

When the time comes, we’re here for you. Goodbye Good Boy provides a range of end-of-life services to make the difficult process of saying goodbye a little easier. 

We offer quality of life assessments from qualified vets, specialist grief counselling, at home euthanasia from dedicated end of life veterinarians, as well as cremation services and memorial options to help remember your pet for their unique character.

We are with you at every step of the journey.

To find out more, you can call our team of passionate pet lovers on 1800 953 619.