As pets age, their abilities and needs may change. Here's are our top five tips on how you can enjoy your time with your pet while helping them maintain health and well-being for years to come.
- Keep Regular Veterinarian Appointments - A dog who is over seven years old and a cat who is over eleven should see their vet twice a year. The vet should be monitoring any ailments they have and track their mobility. It's essential to take notes of any changes you see in your pet to relay to their vet. Then, they will know if further testing is needed.
- Make Lifestyle Adjustments - Arthritis and loss of muscle mass are common in older dogs and cats. They might start to have trouble going upstairs, jumping up on furniture, bending down, or walking on hardwood or tile floors without slipping. This is a time where changes to the house may be needed to fit around your pet's needs. Try laying extra rugs around the house and set up their bed on the main floor if you have a multi-story home. It would be best if you also considered purchasing an elevated feeder to help reduce their neck pain.
- Keep Pets Engaged Mentally - Aging pets can suffer from cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Mentally engage your pet with puzzle toys to slow the decline of CDS. Cats benefit from the game of hunter-prey by placing their food in different containers around the house during mealtimes.
- Expect Behavioral Changes - Your pet will start displaying new behaviors as they age. They may have signs of anxiety or aggression that are related to the physical changes they are experiencing. For example, if your pet can't see well, they will be afraid to go places they aren't familiar with. If they can't hear well, they might be nervous about someone sneaking upon them. If your pet's behavior changes unexpectedly, take them to the vet for a check-up to find out why. This way, you, or anyone else that will be around your pet, can take caution with them.
- Consider Alternative Therapies - Pain management is vital for pets that have arthritis or joint pain. Physical therapy centers for pets offer many services such as massage, acupuncture, and aqua therapy. Giving your aging pets supplements to help reduce inflammation is also a good idea.
We hope these tips for caring for your aging pets will bring everyone many more years of happiness.