Does Your Senior Pet Need to Go Back to School?

Does Your Senior Pet Need to Go Back to School?

If your pet seems to be forgetting something they used to know, should you think “Back to School” for them? The short answer is: probably not.

Believe it or not, cats and dogs, like people, also can suffer “cognitive dysfunction” (i.e. memory loss like Alzheimer’s disease) as early as 11 years of age. Sometimes age-related changes may look like memory loss, but aren’t.

About Senior Cats

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, a cat is considered a senior at the age of 11 (60 in human years) and geriatric at the age of 15 (76 in human years).

If your cat is no longer using the litterbox, it may not be a problem with their brain. It’s possible your cat is getting arthritis, diabetes or has kidney disease. That’s why talking to your veterinarian about any problem your cat has with using the litterbox is worth a visit.

The other thing to note about cats is that they are extremely good at hiding their illnesses. No matter how well you think you know your cat, they may be sick without you knowing it. Regular veterinary visits with your cat can help with detecting problems and treating them before they become so bad that your cat suffers.

About Senior Dogs

It’s a little trickier to estimate when dogs are considered a senior or geriatric. That’s because dog breeds vary in size. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the dog, the shorter their lifespan. For instance, very large breed dogs like Great Danes may be seniors as early as 5 years of age, while small breed dogs like toy poodles may not be considered seniors until the age of 10. Ask your veterinarian if your dog may be considered a senior or not.

If your dog is peeing indoors and this is not typical, it may be a sign your dog has joint problems (e.g. hip dysplasia), hormonal changes or memory loss.

Just like people, dogs can get cataracts and lose their hearing. This may appear as if your dog is ignoring you and “forgetting” they know basic commands like sit, stay and come. A veterinarian can help diagnose the problem and suggest treatment plans, if available.

What to do and When

According to Dr. Feltes of The Behavior Clinic, located in Olmsted Falls, “if the problem behavior is increasing in frequency, intensity or has lasted more than two weeks;” seek the help of your veterinarian and consider a consultation.

If you need more information on this topic and others, contact me at 216-920-3051 or [email protected].

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Child Developmental Chart and Age-Appropriate Toys

Today’s Parent Tip of the Week is brought to
you by Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center

This developmental chart lists some skills typical of a child’s development from infancy through 5 years old. Children may vary in their development. If you have any questions concerning your child’s development, contact your pediatrician and/or ask about an early intervention program, such as that provided by Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center (call 216-698-7500 for information).

1-3 Months

Babies like to:
Listen to musical sounds
Stare at movement and light
Be held and rocked
Reach/feel with open hands

Give your baby:
Soft musical toys/rattles
Lamps throwing light patterns
Your arms, singing, smile

4-6 months

Babies like to:
Shake, feel and bang things
Sit with support

Give your baby:
Crib gym
Cups, spoons and pot lids
High chair suction toys

7-9 months

Babies like to:
Roll over and pivot on stomach
Throw, wave and bang toys
Gum objects

Give your baby:
Bathtub toys
Teether and gumming toys
Space to roll around

10-12 months

Babies like to:
Play pat-a-cake
Pull up and get back down
Place things where they’re wanted

Give your baby:
Motion toys
Baking tins and clothes pins
Nestled plastic cups

1 year to 15 months

Babies like to:
Use one or two words
Be hugged
Try feeding themselves

Give your baby:
Lots of conversation
Personal dish, cup and spoon
You on the floor

16 months to 2 years

Babies like to:
Get into everything
Identify parts of themselves
Fetch and carry
Turn pages

Give your baby:
A childproof house
A shape sorting box
A toy telephone
Picture books

2 years to 30 months

Babies like to:
Help with housework
Kick a large ball
Play on riding toys

Give your baby:
Large balls and push toys
Tricycle or big wheel
Shelves to put things away

30 months to 3 years

Children like to:
Put clothing on
Work with their fingers
Sing songs and repeat rhymes

Give your child:
Big crayons and paper
Tape player or record player
Construction sets

3 years to 4 years

Children like to:
Cut with rounded scissors
Play games with other children
Play with sand and water

Give your child:
More responsibility
Things to cut and paste
Backyard pool or sandbox

4 years to 5 years

Children like to:
Play ball
Repeat nursery rhymes
Dress themselves
Sing songs

Give your child:
Balls of different sizes
Time to dress himself
Love and affection