Older and Wiser

Caring for Your Pet As They Grow Older

As pet owners, we do everything in our power to help our furry friends stay younger, longer. Sooner than we often realize, however, our pets start showing signs of old age, and it is important to find ways to make our companion animal’s golden years more comfortable.

With senior status, your furry friend may start experiencing some common health issues including arthritis, weight gain or loss, cognitive problems, and disease. In order to combat these issues, try some of these tips:

    • Creature comforts. With sore joints, your pet may not be able to reach their favorite places. Consider purchasing a ramp to help your dog get to a favorite place at the foot of (or perhaps on!) your bed, or strategically place boxes or step stools so your cat can easily get to a favorite hiding place.
  • Know before you go. The great outdoors affords many opportunities for you and your companion animal to bond and stay active. However, older dogs may not have as much energy as they once did. Because of this, try to scope out walking routes in advance to ensure your dog can handle them.
  • Keep them healthy. Older animals tend to gain weight as they age, but you can ameliorate this by switching your pet’s food to one formulated specifically for seniors. These foods are lower in fats, but still have the protein your companion animal needs. Many older animals don’t drink enough, so keep them hydrated by placing water bowls throughout your home.
  • Protect their paws. As pets get older, their skin becomes less resilient. Your dog’s paws may not be able to handle the elements (gravel, ice, hot sidewalks) as well as they did when they were younger. Consider purchasing booties to help protect their pads, if they can stand to wear them!.dog in booties
  • Keep them comfortable. Older pets may have lumps and tumors that make it more uncomfortable for them to lay on the floor in certain positions. Make them more comfortable by purchasing something soft for them to lay on like a memory foam bath mat, or a dog bed. You can also make it easier for your pet to eat and drink by raising the height of their bowls.

Your companion animal may slow down with age, so remember not to push them too hard. Following the tips above and visiting the vet for a checkup on a regular basis will help maintain your pet’s comfort and quality of life for as long as possible.

 

Sources:

http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-magazines/dogfancy/dog-fancy-extras/1101-extras/dog-age-chart.aspx

http://www.catchannel.com/experts/cat-sitter/help-my-senior-cat.aspx

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/aging

https://vet-dc.com/blog/checklist-make-pet-comfortable-cancer/

 

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