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Cats and Dogs, Healthcare

How Can You Accommodate An Aging Pet?

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

senior labrador on the floor relazing

“Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.” -Sidney Jeanne Seward

It might seem like just yesterday when you brought your pet home, but you know what they say: time flies when your having fun. Father Time stops for no one and takes a toll on us all, even our four-legged family members. Although we can’t keep them young forever, there are some things we can do to make their golden years more comfortable.

Take care of aging joints

One of the first concerns we have as our pets age is the health of their joints. Joint stiffening is a common issue, along with resurfacing pain from prior injuries. If you begin to notice your pet having difficulty with movement, it’s a sign they have some joint discomfort. It’s still important to keep your pet active, but you should always modify their activity level to suit their abilities and needs.

Take a look around your home and make note of any areas that might cause your pet to struggle. Placing a ramp near the couch or your bed can make it easier for your pet to reach his favorite snuggling spot, and raising food and water bowls can reduce strain on achy joints. Most importantly, now is the time to add a quality joint health supplement to their diet. Joint supplements are vital for all pets over 6 years old.

Keep your home at a comfortable temperature

Changes in your aging pet’s metabolism often lead to sensitivity to extreme temperature changes and difficulty regulating their body temperature. Take measures to keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round, and provide your pet with seasonally-appropriate bedding and outdoor accessories.

Consider making dietary changes

As your pet reaches their senior years, their nutritional needs change. Metabolism slows down and digestion can be more difficult. It’s important to make the switch to a formula specifically for senior pets. Foods specifically formulated for seniors tend to be lower in calories and higher in fiber. Many brands also take dental issues into consideration for their senior line, also, making smaller and softer kibble for pets who may be missing teeth. Speaking of teeth…

Don’t overlook dental health

“Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats,” according to the American Veterinary Dental College. Most pets have some signs of periodontal disease by age three, but it can be difficult to identify and diagnose without regular dental checkups. By the time many pets reach old age, they’re at high risk for tooth loss and painful gum inflammation. Prevention is the best option, but if your pet is already suffering from dental issues, it’s best to have your vet take a look.

Living with vision and hearing loss

Our hearing and vision diminish as we age and it’s no different for our pets. You may notice your pet hesitating, or walking more carefully through your home. Perhaps they’re not responding as quickly to the sound of the mailman stopping by or their food rustling in their bowl. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do for vision and hearing loss, aside from making your home easy for your pet to navigate and being more patient with expectations. Always keep your pet within a safe range when outside of the home, so you know they can see and hear you.

Be prepared for accidents

Incontinence is an unfortunate reality for many aging pets. To avoid accidents, give your pet frequent bathroom breaks. When accidents do happen, bear in mind that your pet is probably just as upset about it as you. Simply clean up the mess and offer your pet some extra plenty of love and patience.


– Photo taken by Brandt Luke Zorn 

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