Reduced activity or tiring easily
As our pets grow older, they will often be less keen to exercise, and spend more of the day sleeping - while these changes could simply reflect the onset of old age, more often than not there is a specific underlying reason for them, and if that can be identified and addressed, we can help the pet feel years younger again!
Problems with the heart and circulation will often cause reduced willingness to exercise, and these are more common problems in our older pets. These conditions will sometimes but not always be associated with other signs such as a cough, or a tendency to pant more than previously.
Joint pain will also, understandably, reduce our pets' willingness to exercise, and will not necessarily be as obvious as seeing them limp. Cats in particular rarely limp even with advanced arthritis in their limbs, but will tend to change their lifestyle to avoid pain, usually by doing less an lazing about more. You may notice them no longer using favourite lying places, especially if these were up high or otherwise challenging to access, and they will sometimes become either more or less sociable than previously. Arthritic changes affecting the neck and back will often also reduce a pet's willingness to exercise without causing obvious lameness.
Hormonal problems such as hypothyroidism and Cushing's disease - both conditions which more commonly affects middle-aged and older dogs - can also cause sluggishness, reduced energy, and a reduced willingness to exercise.
So while doing less and lying about more can seem like our pets settling into a well earned 'retirement' in, there may be a specific underlying cause, and identifying and treating these, where possible, can make an enormous difference to our pets' quality of life in their senior years!
Tommorow to finish this weeks topic we will talk about unexplained weight loss...