Caring for Senior Pets in Their Golden Years
As pets age, their needs change, and this can include their diet, their activity level, and their health. What are some things you can expect – and how can you continue to love your pet through these challenges?
Joints become stiffer as animals become more advanced in years which can result in discomfort and pain. This pain might mean they exercise less frequently, which can lead to becoming overweight. And being overweight causes a cycle of more pain, reduced activity, and other health problems.
Your senior pet might have more difficulty with stairs. Dog ramps can make it easier to walk on and off porches or get into or out of the car. Lift harnesses can also allow you to assist them with getting up and down. However, have your vet check for arthritis or other medicines which will allow your pet more freedom of movement. An orthopedic bed will make naptime more comfortable for them.
Playful puppies turn into lethargic older dogs who will wear out much faster. Follow your dog’s lead by watching their energy level and make play sessions shorter with time to rest. Senior dogs should still take walks to keep their minds and joints healthy, but adjust with shorter outings and slow the pace.
Pets’ dietary needs also change with their age. Just as puppies and kittens eat special food formulated for their needs, senior pets also have specific nutrient needs and should eat an age-appropriate diet. Keep their weight under control and tailor their diet to meet their health concerns such as heart or kidney disease. The lower fat content increased nutrients, and reduced-sodium in senior dog food will benefit dogs with kidney disease. For any dramatic weight loss, make an appointment and ask your vet about potential health issues.
Older pets require more medical care than a once-yearly checkup. How much? Ask your vet how frequently you should bring them in. In addition to vaccinations and maintaining their oral health, you might notice changes to their temperament, eyes becoming foggy, and a need for potty pads if they can’t make it outside in time.
For assistance with the expenses, look into nonprofits that specialize in caring for senior and disabled pets. Mostly, continue to love and care for your pet, adjusting to their needs to make them comfortable.