11 Tips to Help Your Senior Pet
Just like people, our pets have needs and abilities that change as they age. Unfortunately, this means that many pets will have a hard time doing things like going for long walks and jumping up on furniture as they reach their elderly years. Luckily, there are some things that dog and cat owners can do to make their pets feel more comfortable in their old age.
For instance, investing in things like ramps, stairs, and comfortable beds will help keep your elderly pet safe and comfortable. In addition, taking them to regular vet visits allow for early detection of illnesses that senior pets are susceptible to. This can save your pet’s life.
In this article, we will be listing 11 things that pet owners can do to help out their senior pets. This will mainly include ways that you can keep a senior pet healthy in their golden years, but we will also be giving you some tips and tricks for keeping your elderly pet happy as well. Alright, let’s get into it!
1) Invest in Ramps and Stairs
One of the best things that you can do for your elderly pet is to invest in ramps and stairs. This will allow your pet to get up onto furniture like sofas and beds without straining their joints too much. This is a must for pets with back problems and conditions like arthritis. While this is especially beneficial for senior dogs, ramps and stairs around furniture can help elderly cats as well.
2) Get Them a Comfortable Bed
Senior pets sleep a lot, and they will thank you for having a nice, comfortable bed to sleep on. Getting your senior pet a bed with lots of padding and warmth will help keep them comfortable, especially during the cold months of the year. If you live in a warm or hot climate, then investing in a quality cooling dog or cat bed is a good idea as well.
3) Make an Effort to Get Them to Exercise
Due to pain associated with common ailments like arthritis and just slowing down in their old age, senior pets tend to get moving much less frequently than younger dogs and cats. While this is completely natural, it is still a good idea for owners of elderly pets to make an effort in getting their older pets to exercise.
Going for shorter walks and adventures is still worthwhile for elderly dogs. Similarly, it is still important to play with senior dogs and cats. This is not only because playtime gets their bodies moving, but because it also gets their minds working.
If you are worried about your senior pet experiencing pain or mobility problems when exercising, then it may be beneficial to get in contact with a veterinarian that offers canine physical therapy. They can help give your elderly pet exercises that are more suited for them such as swimming and underwater treadmills.
4) Book Regular Vet Visits
Older dogs and cats tend to experience more health problems than their younger counterparts. As a result, most veterinarians recommend that you take your senior pet to a regular vet checkup every six months. This is opposed to once a year, which is standard for young adult dogs and cats.
Taking your elderly pet to the vet more frequently will allow you to catch any medical concerns early on, which will keep your pet more comfortable. Your vet will also be more knowledgeable of your pet’s condition, so they can address concerns accurately and quickly if they come up.
5) Have all of Their Resources in Easy to Reach Places
If you have an elderly pet with mobility problems, then it is crucial that you have all of their essential resources in places that are easy for them to reach. This includes things like food, water, toys, and beds. Having an indoor place for an elderly dog to use the bathroom can be beneficial in some cases as well. For elderly cats, placing their litterbox in an area where they can get to easily is essential.
6) Feed Them a Healthy and Balanced Diet
As pets get older, it is important to feed them a senior pet diet. Senior diets may have joint supplements and are balanced to provide a complete diet for senior aged pets. It may be a good idea to talk with your vet about things like good senior dog food and supplements.
7) Closely Monitor Their Weight
Similarly, it can also be a good idea to monitor your pet’s weight extra closely as they age. Being overweight can put a lot of extra strain on a senior pet’s joints, and it can cause a slew of additional health conditions and concerns.
8) Clean Their Teeth
Dental disease and a decline in dental hygiene are common in senior dogs and cats. This is not only due to their increasing age, but also because elderly pets do not tend to chew on things very much. As a result, you will likely need to make a greater effort when it comes to keeping your senior pet’s teeth clean. To continue to promote healthy dental hygiene for your senior pet, have your veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dentition frequently.
9) Help Them Out With Grooming
This is especially crucial when it comes to senior cats. Due to mobility issues, older pets cannot groom themselves very well a lot of the time. So, you will likely need to help both senior dogs and cats with grooming.
10) Focus on Giving Them Mental Stimulation
Senior pets are still looking for ways to keep their minds moving. Invest in some puzzle toys and come up with some activities that can keep your senior pet’s mind moving! These are usually easy on their bodies while still allowing them to have fun!
11) Don’t Forget to Still Have Fun
Senior pets still need lots of love and attention from their owners. Don’t forget to have fun with them as much as you can in their final days. Your pet will be happier and will thank you for it with lots of love in return.
In conclusion, there are a variety of things you can do to help your pet as they age into their senior years. Whether it involves giving them extra comfort and mental stimulation, to watching their diet and exercise, it is important to ensure you keep an extra eye on your senior pets as they age.
For pet parents in the Philadelphia region, World of Animals has five locations to serve you and your senior pet. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact one of our locations today.