Your Pet’s Behavior Will Likely Change as They Get Older

One of the hardest things to experience as a pet owner is watching your beloved pet get older. As this process occurs, you will start noticing your pet behaving differently than she used to. These changes may see alarming, but in most cases, they are just signs of aging.

If you are concerned, however, you should take your pet to the veterinarian for an examination to rule out any other non-age-related issues. With that in mind, here are ten common signs that your pet is getting old, and what to consider with each stage of the aging process.

Loss of Hearing in Dogs and Cats

While it’s not a guarantee that your pet will start losing her hearing as she gets older, it does occur in most pets. Usually, the pet’s hearing will start to decline, but there are cases where a pet has gone completely deaf due to age.

If you notice your pet’s hearing isn’t what it used to be, take her to the vet to make sure the problem is age-related because there are several other causes of hearing loss that are more serious than just getting old.

Fur Color Changes

Like humans, pets will start graying as they age. On cats, the gray will usually be noticed on the tail, but on dogs, it is usually around the eyes and snout.

Changes in the Eyes

Pets gradually suffer from vision loss as they age, but they will also be prone to conditions like cataracts and other changes in the eye. The eyes may start looking cloudy, or brown spots may develop in the iris. General cloudiness in the eye causes a blue haze over the pupil, whereas a cataract is white and opaque.

Changes in Your Pet’s Movement

Pets will become noticeably less active in their older years because like humans, their bodies become stiff and arthritis can set in. If you notice your pet isn’t moving around quite as much as they used to, or they’ve been having difficulty moving, then you should take her to the vet because most cases of arthritis or pain-causing muscular problems can be treated.

Eating Changes

As your pet ages, you will likely notice her eating slower or less frequently. The amount of food she consumes will also decline. The reason for this is that the digestive system moves a lot slower for an older pet. Your pet may start losing weight and/or develop constipation. You should take her to the vet to make sure her appetite isn’t being suppressed by a health problem, but in most cases, making a few changes to her diet will help.

Changes in Bathroom Habits

It is not uncommon for older cats to start going to the bathroom outside of their litter boxes and for older dogs to start going in the house. This type of behavior should be checked out by your vet because there are other issues besides age that can cause this, including stress and certain medical conditions.

Increased Aggression

Older pets get afraid more easily, so they can tend to become aggressive if they experience fear. Pain will also cause a pet to become aggressive, but so can certain health problems. So, if your pet is suddenly acting aggressive, take her to the veterinarian to rule out any potential medical causes.

Increased Sleep and Isolation

A pet that is experiencing the pain and discomfort of aging will often sleep more than usual. She may also start isolating herself from the rest of the house because she doesn’t want to get hurt by other pets or humans. While these are normal behaviors for older pets, they can also be signs that something is wrong with the pet, so take her to the vet to make sure a medical problem isn’t causing them.


Because a pet’s sight and hearing can be affected as she ages, she may also appear confused or spatially disoriented at times. She may bump into things or stumble on the steps, and she might even get stuck places because she can’t maneuver around things the way she used to.

Repetitive Behaviors

An older pet will sometimes start exhibiting repetitive behaviors like staring, pacing aimlessly, vocalizations, or incessant licking. She may also become fixated on something. As always, if you notice these behaviors, take your pet to the vet to rule out any potential medical causes.

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Author: Giano Panzarella