How to Give Older Pets the Care They Deserve

How to Give Older Pets the Care They Deserve

There’s no denying that senior dogs and cats are special. They’re quiet, gentle, and often more affectionate than when they were younger. Plus, your four-legged friend has been by your side for years, creating an unbreakable bond forged through love and devotion.

But there’s a sad truth to taking care of an elderly pet: Your once-frisky pup or kitty is now at a higher risk of a number of chronic conditions and can’t get around as easily as before. That means you have to pay strict attention throughout the day if they’re to get the right food, exercise, and mental stimulation to stay healthy and comfortable.

With that in mind, here are some basic guidelines to make sure you can deliver everything your special animal deserves.

Visit the Vet

A vet’s expert knowledge will help stave off the worst effects of aging, such as cardiovascular and kidney disease, as well as osteoporosis and arthritis. Although your dog or cat only needs to see them once a year as healthy adults, twice annually in their golden years is the minimum.

Watch Them Carefully

Don’t hesitate to take your pet to the vet if a medical problem arises. You’ll know when they’ve taken ill; it’s a matter of certain changes in their physique or behavior. Keep an eye out for incontinence, weight loss, confusion, and coughing, as they’re all possible warning signs of disease.

Change Their Diet

Like humans, older animals need fewer calories as their metabolism slows down with age. However, the same can’t be said about nutrients, especially protein for cats. That means high-quality grub, which you can find by looking for the organic label. However, rather than just grabbing anything off the shelf that meets the simple criteria, do a little research online and dig through reviews from websites and other pet owners.

Keep Them Active

They’re not as sprightly as before, but your woofer or meower needs some physical activity to maintain strong bones and muscles, which quickly atrophy with a life of nothing but lounging around. You’ll find your furry partner is still highly enticed by the right toys or treats, though be careful with the latter if they don’t fit into your pet’s diet plan.

Stimulate Their Brains

With a little extra effort, you can do this as part of their regular exercise regimen. It’s simply a matter of hiding one of your pet’s favorite treats to goad them into a round of Find It. Hide and Seek is another classic activity that your dog or cat would probably love.

Brush Their Teeth

You can brush their teeth or run the risk of your dog or cat getting cavities and gum disease, either of which could cause their teeth to fall out and make eating painful or impossible. What’s more, bacteria from the mouth can spread throughout the body, leading to infections that attack the digestive and cardiovascular systems. If you’re curious about the proper brushing technique, BarkPost has a video tutorial.

Change Their Bedding

A young dog or cat may take a nap on the hard floor with no thought of that plush bed you bought them. However, that’s not the case for senior pets, since they struggle with arthritis as well as other aches and pains in their muscles and bones. Hartz suggests an orthopedic model so they can get their Zs in comfort.

Modify Your Home

If you don’t make changes to your home, your pet will have more trouble getting around. Some of the changes you should make are quite minor, like putting your dog’s food bowl on a raised platform so they don’t strain their neck while eating. Also, ensure that everything your pet needs, including their bed, is on one floor, so that they never have to use the stairs.

They can’t tell you themselves, but your senior dog or cat will appreciate these changes to their home and lifestyle. You may get a few extra purrs or kisses out of them, though. That should brighten your day.

Tags: , , , , , ,