All pet owners know that they are a part of the family. As they age, their needs change just as humans do. If you have an aging pet in your home, it’s essential to know how to care for them properly. Vets say that dogs are generally considered senior if they’re more than six years old, and over eleven-year-old cats are often seen as seniors.
Here are seven tips to keep in mind when caring for a senior pet:
1. Comfortable Bed for Sleeping
Aging pets often have trouble getting around, so giving them a comfortable place to sleep helps. A bed with high sides will help keep them from falling out, and a soft cushion will make them feel at ease.
2. Easier-to-Chew Diet
As pets age, their teeth may start to wear down, and they may have trouble chewing their food. You can buy pet food that is easier to chew or break the food into smaller pieces.
For instance, a senior dog can still enjoy a good game of fetch, but you may want to provide them with smaller treats that are easier to chew. Also, watch out for your pet’s weight since obesity can be a serious health issue for older pets.
3. Extra Water
Aging pets may not drink as much water as they used to, so it’s essential to watch their intake. You can place a water bowl near their bed or food dish or buy a pet fountain that encourages them to drink more.
4. Regular Vet Visits
Some pet owners are more likely to forget that their senior pet still needs regular vet visits. Older pets can develop health problems just like people do, so catch any early issues to avoid further problems.
Take them to your trusted vets, such as Kearny Mesa Veterinary Center, to track their health and ensure they get the care they need. The vet may recommend specific treatments or medications to help keep your pet healthy and comfortable during their visit. For instance, your aging cat may need to start taking thyroid medication.
5. Physical Activity
Just because your pet gets older doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy physical activity. In fact, staying active can help keep them healthy and happy.
You can take your senior dog for walks, play fetch or tug-of-war, or even take them for a swim. Monitor their energy level and adjust the activities as needed.
For cats, provide them with a scratching post and plenty of toys to keep them amused. You can also set up a small climbing area, such as a cat tree, to give them a place to explore.
6. Vaccination and Parasite Protection
Older pets are more susceptible to diseases and parasites, so keeping them up-to-date on their vaccinations and deworming is essential. Speak with your vet about the best parasite prevention for your pet.
7. Oral Protection
Dental problems are common in older pets, so it’s important to brush their teeth regularly and monitor their oral health. You can also ask your veterinarian about dental chews or wipes that can help keep their teeth clean.
For their toothpaste, look for one specifically designed for older pets and has a low abrasiveness.
This guideline is just a part of the overall care you can do for your aging pet. Talk to your vet about any specific concerns or issues you’re having and see what treatments they may recommend. With a little extra TLC, your aging pets can continue to enjoy their golden years.
In addition, choose a vet specializing in senior pet care (like this veterinary hospital San Diego) to provide you with the best advice for keeping them healthy and comfortable.