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5 Ways to Keep Your Senior Pets Healthy and Happy

  • 12 January 2020
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  • flemos

In a perfect world, pets would live forever. Unfortunately, our beloved furry family members get old and eventually leave us.

Despite the inevitable—or even because of it—pets deserve the best we can offer. No doubt these are small prices to pay for the companionship and joy that they unconditionally provide throughout their lives. And as they enter their twilight years, they require comfort, care, and attention from their favorite humans more than ever. Here’s how you can provide these—and more—and make your pet’s senior years comfortable and happy.

Visit the vet.

This is not exactly your pet’s favorite activity, but regular visits to the vet become more necessary as she gets on with age. This, by the way, is not limited to pets with health problems. In fact, you shouldn’t wait until something is wrong for a vet visit.

Be aware that just like humans, pets become more susceptible to a plethora of health risks as they get older. As a general rule of thumb, senior pets over seven years old should be taken to the vet at least twice a year in order to catch problems before they become serious or even fatal.

Honor routines.

In the same way that you closely monitor your pet’s physical health, so should you pay attention to her mental health. The truth is that older pets can develop senility or at the very least, display changes in behavior as they progress in age. Keeping them engaged, therefore, becomes doubly important at this point in their lives. But while stimuli are good, it’s also important not to overdo it.

Pets are creatures of habit, and any drastic changes to routine could have undue effects on their mental well-being. For example, you might have a cat who has enjoyed free rein of the backyard for years but is now no longer well enough to get around on her own. One way to make sure that she’s still able to get her precious outdoor time safely without the risk of injury is by using a cat backpack. Choose one that’s not only durable and has sufficient ventilation, but also one that she can be comfortable in.

Maintain a good diet.

Pets like dogs are more prone to diseases when they are overweight. This is why it’s paramount to ensure that your pet maintains a healthy weight. The best way to do this is by choosing a high-quality diet commensurate to her size, age, and lifestyle.

There are special foods designed for various conditions, and your vet can help you choose what’s appropriate for your pet. For instance, overweight dogs often need food high in L-carnitine, while pets with mobility issues like arthritis would benefit greatly from food fortified with fatty acids and supplements.

Encourage exercise.

A good diet can only do so much to ensure that your pet maintains a healthy weight—exercise is just as important, too. While this is often not a problem when your pet is spry and active, it’s typically a different story with elderly pets because as their mobility decreases, so will their level of activity.

However, exercising an elderly pet is not as simple as playing fetch or going for a run. You should, in fact, be mindful of your pet’s physical limitations and be extra careful to avoid overexertion or injury. Low-impact activities that do not strain your pet’s muscles and joints are recommended, such as swimming or short walks.

Accommodate changes.

There’s no doubt that your pet’s needs will change as she gets older. Mobility and range of motion may deteriorate, and muscles, including those in the bladder, may weaken. So aside from making your home more accessible for your elderly pet, you also need to be understanding of her mishaps and shower her with love and affection no matter what.

Remember that pets devote their lives to bringing love and joy to ours. As they get older and require more care, we can do the same.

 

Photo from Pixabay.com

Blog credited to Penny Martin.  Thank You