Think about the years you’ve spent with your pet: snuggles, cuddles, kisses, playtime, and laughter. Our pets fill our homes with love and joy, so it’s no wonder many pet parents ask us how they can repay the love of their pet by helping their furry best friend age with grace and dignity.
What does it mean to age gracefully? Some aches and pains are unavoidable for pets as they enter their golden years. But doing what you can to reduce pain and ease anxiety while increasing mobility and confidence can help your pet make the most of her senior years.
How Can You Support Healthy Aging for Your Pet?
1. Consider Your Pet’s Weight and Diet
What your pet eats plays a major role in their health. As dogs get older, their body changes. Older dogs naturally gain more body fat while their muscles, bones, and cartilage decrease. This makes maintaining a healthy diet and weight even more vital to your dog’s wellbeing.
Overweight pets are at risk for
- Joint pain and cartilage deterioration
- Heart and lung problems
- Cancer and tumors
- Skin irritation
- Decreased mobility
So, if your senior pet is a bit pudgy, it’s best she loses a few pounds. We can help your chunky kitty or dog find the right diet and a safe exercise routine to help them slim down.
It’s also important to notice if your pet suddenly drops a lot of weight. If this happens, it’s best to make an appointment, so we can see what’s going on.
2. Visit Us Every Six Months
As dogs, cats, and other pets get older, it’s important to visit us more often. We recommend veterinary visits every six months or more to make sure your pet is in good health.
Vet exams can help detect dangerous lumps and bumps, check kidney function, and test their blood and urine.
3. Don’t Let Parasites Bug Your Best Buddy
Parasites can take a bite out of your pet’s health and mental wellbeing. Heartworms can cause heart failure in pets of all ages, but geriatric pets suffer from heightened risk since the walls of their lungs and heart often thin and weaken.
Intestinal parasites rob your pet of nutrients while fleas and ticks can create mental distress as your pet scratches and is startled by bite after bite. Fleas also prevent your pup or cat from enjoying a restful sleep.
4. Support Mobility and Reduce Slips
You may have wondered if it’s time to get a set of pet stairs for your cat or dog. Well, if you notice them hesitating before leaping onto the sofa or bed, it may just be the right time to make that purchase.
Why do our older pets seem to struggle a bit more when getting around? Their muscles weaken and joints stiffen. As pets get older too, slips and spills take more of a toll on their bodies. Put down rugs on tiles and slick wood floors. Avoid walking your dog on slippery surfaces like ice.
For kitties, consider putting in a few more ramps and steps to their senior kitty access windowsills and her favorite perches.
5. Maintain Mental Stimulation
Dogs and cats don’t just age physically–they also can experience dementia, boredom, and anxiety. To ward these off, keeping your pet mentally active is essential.
While ramps will help keep your kitty comfortable and safer when it comes to her mobility, being able to watch out the window will help keep her mind active. Play and hunting are also helpful for keeping your kitty’s brain stimulated.
For dogs, walks will help your senior pup curious. Play, training, and puzzles also challenge your dog to keep them bright and excited.
We want our senior pets to age long and strong for happier memories as they get older. Because there’s no need for the fun to stop, keep your pet in their best health! We can help your pet on their journey into their sunset years. Just give us a call, we would love to assist in your pet’s graceful aging.
Image credit: Immortal shots | Pexels