To no surprise, an aging pet means more health problems, less activity, and frequent care. Common themes among all aging mammals include arthritis, organ decline, and a deterioration of the senses. Health complications among pets fall under these general categories, however; depending on your pet’s breed, they may experience mild or severe health complexities as they age. Whether you have a Great Dane or a Maine Coon, there are 7 tips that you can apply to any aging pet to assure they are healthy and comfortable during their golden years.
Have Regularly Scheduled Vet Visits
Your pet can’t tell you when something is wrong with them, which means that bi-yearly checkups are vital to their health. Whether it is something as simple as a decline in hearing or something more severe like a gradual kidney weakening, frequent vet visits can provide you with information that you couldn’t obtain by observation. Veterinarians are also your ideal source for advice, tips, and medication, which not only benefits your pet’s health, but it allows you to gain valuable insight on how you should be caring for your senior pet.
Daily exercise is one of the most important activities that your aging pet can partake in. Regular movement helps counter arthritis, slows bone and joint deterioration, and helps maintain a healthy body weight.
For dogs, it is recommended that you walk them multiple times a day. Make sure to keep a slower pace with senior pups and have water readily available to accommodate for their lack of endurance.
Exercising an elderly cat is a difficult task, especially considering how often they like to sleep. No matter how old a cat is, they’ll always have that inner kitten deep inside, so break out a laser pointer, feather, or ball, and get them moving a couple times a day.
As there is specialized food for puppies and kittens, there is also specialized food for elderly cats and dogs. There isn’t a drastic difference between adult food and senior food, however there are key ingredients that are specifically made for elderly pets. If you aren’t sure about what diet to have your old pet on, call your local vet to learn about the best brands, and best dietary options. Typically, older pets require lower calories, less protein, and high fiber in their daily diets.
Thanks to technology, we have a wide variety of accessories that enable our aging pets to feel young again. From leg wheels to neck braces that detect objects, technology is allowing us to support our disabled pets like never before. If your pet suffers from arthritis, blindness, or any other disability, research ways that you can keep them active and happy.
As pets get older, it gets harder for them to clean themselves, which is where you come in. There are various ways that you can help keep your aging pets hygiene at an all-time high.
Dental hygiene is very important to keep up with in older pets, especially if you want them to avoid gingivitis, rotting teeth, and bad breath. If your pet has poor dental hygiene, they may begin to struggle to eat, which will negatively affect their health.
Brushing your pet’s fur is a beneficial technique that will keep them from getting knots, will prevent pests from housing on them, and will give them a beautiful coat.
Child Proof the House
Having an older pet can feel like taking care of an infant, especially if they are blind. You don’t have to go to extreme measures to accommodate for your aging pet’s behaviors, but if your pet is vulnerable to bumping into things, make sure that there are no sharp edges or expensive materials in range of your pet. Baby gates can be a problem solver with older animals, especially with ones that lose their balance easily or are suffering from cataracts.
Love Them Unconditionally
Your older pet may not be as cute as they once were, and they may stress you out from time to time, but they still need their owner’s affection to boost their mental state and keep them joyful. Whether you give them belly rubs or groom them with a brush, physical contact with your aging pet is a stimulating experience with numerous benefits.
Dogwood Vet Cares about Your Aging Pet
At Dogwood Veterinary Hospital & Pet Resort, we possess the professionals and knowledge to keep your old pet as healthy as can be. Whether you need to take in your pet for a checkup, or seek advice for taking care of them, you can count on us to provide you with exceptional care. Contact us today at 919.942.6330 to learn more, or visit us at 51 Vickers Rd. in Chapel Hill.