The Golden Years: Caring for Senior Pets
Mark Twain said “heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in”. Our pets have spent their entire lives living for us, their benefactors. If we really stopped to think, it becomes apparent that they are our benefactors and most of the caring comes from them. Age, however becomes a factor as time goes on and their care just a bit more so.
Caring for senior pets is much the same as caring for other pets but with a little extra added in a few places. Let’s discuss some of those areas that care needs to be placed into.
Older pets need just a bit more in certain places to ensure that they live their golden years in a golden way.
- Wellness Exams – By now, you should know the value of wellness exams and preventative diagnostics. This aspect of care is just as important as it was while your pet was in his or her prime, if not more so. Bi-annual wellness exams are recommended for pets over the age of 7, as well as routine lab work and dental care.
- Nutrition – Food and or diet control is the a major concern for our older pets. Be sure that you are feeding your senior pet a food that is appropriate to this life stage, and ask us if there are any other considerations you should be making for your pet’s diet. Likewise, continue to keep an eye on your pet’s treat intake, as he or she will be more susceptible to gastrointestinal distress as the years pass.
- Temperature control – Senior pets need more aid in temperature control as they lose their ability to keep warm when not exercising. Sleeping in front of a sunny window or a fireplace keeps them happy, as does a soft, warm place to bed down.
- Joint/ Hip Pain – As your pet ages, the wear and tear on his or her joints will become evident. Ramps to and from your vehicle, home, and even your bed will help your pet tremendously. Talk to us about pain management options for your pet, too. There are some amazing treatments available to compliment any medication that may be needed.
- Exercise – Exercise your older pet to keep them active and limber, but with respect to their ability to tire quickly and longer recovery times. Walks, walks, and more walks are one of the best ways to keep your senior active, but with higher frequency and lower intensity.
- Hearing and sight – Our senses fade with time, and so do our pet’s. Both sight and hearing can be affected by old age. This is really a problem when it comes time to keep our older pets safe in dynamic and dangerous outdoor environments, if there is reason for concern make an appointment with your veterinarian to test them and ascertain their level of disability to tailor your care accordingly.
Our senior pets have just as much love, companionship, and devotion to offer us as they did when they were pups and kits. Whether your senior pet has been with you for his or her lifetime, or is a recent addition to your home, you know that there is something special about our golden friends. And while senior pets may need a little extra TLC, they’re worth it.
Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions you might have regarding senior pet care. We’re always happy to help.