By Laura Hady

Helping Pets Age Gracefully

Just as assisted living centers help support aging humans, pets may have special home needs as they enter retirement years.

Among common conditions in senior pets are arthritis and cognitive disorder, which has similarities with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in people. Age-related decline in cognitive abilities affect 28 percent of dogs ages 11-12 and increases to 68 percent of dogs by ages 15-16. In cats 15-16 years old, more than 50 percent experience a cognitive decline. Symptoms of cognitive disorder include excessive barking, whining and meowing, disruption of sleep/wake cycles, house soiling, pointless pursuits such as standing in corners, and alterations in social activities.

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