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6 Changes to Make When Caring for Your Senior Pet

Written by Nick Burton of ourbestdoggo.com Email: nick.burton@ourbestdoggo.com

Dog

While it can be difficult to accept, the truth is that our pets age much faster than we do. Pets tend to slow down physically and mentally as they get older, and it’s essential that owners make the necessary changes to ensure that their pets maintain the highest possible quality of life. If your pet is a senior (or becoming a senior), these six important changes will help you keep them healthy and happy throughout their golden years.

Lock in a Good Vet

When your pet is younger, annual checkups at the vet are typically sufficient. When they’re older, you will need to take them at least twice a year to make sure you are staying on top of their health care. If you don’t currently have a veterinarian you trust, now is the time to find one. You should also know the location of your nearest emergency vet in case the worst should happen. For example, even if your dog is in great health, sudden episodes of whimpering paired with flattened ears indicate they’re in pain, and a cat who suddenly can’t stop howling and shies away from being held is trying to tell you something is wrong. In these types of scenarios, you should bring your pet to the vet right away, and if your primary doctor is unavailable, visiting an emergency vet can be lifesaving.

Ensure Their Nutrition

Your pet will not be as active in their golden years, which means their nutritional needs will change. While each pet is unique, there are a few common changes made to an older pet’s diet:

  • Fewer calories
  • Less protein
  • Higher fiber
  • Lower sodium
  • Adding supplements

Ask your vet about the best dietary options for your pet.

Look at Supplements

There are a ton of supplements available for pets, so it’s important to consider your pet’s individual needs when choosing which (if any) will be beneficial. For instance, some vitamins and minerals can help improve cardiovascular health or joint issues, and some may prove to be helpful when certain diseases are present. One kind of supplement that is proving to help pets thrive in their older age is CBD oil, which can relieve joint pain, reduce inflammation, and alleviate anxiety. Be sure to consult your vet before giving your pet any supplements.

Groom Them Regularly

Keeping your pet clean is key to ensuring that everyday life is healthy and comfortable for them. To avoid a hefty bill from professional groomers, learn how to do some basic grooming at home. For example, regularly brush through their fur to keep it untangled, and give them a bath periodically. Also, be sure to care for their dental health; if your pet doesn’t allow you to brush their teeth, try dental chews or other methods of oral hygiene.

Find a Fitness Routine

Exercise is essential for any pet to thrive. When your pet is older, they still need exercise, but their routine will probably need to change. Rather than playing an endless game of fetch in the backyard, consider taking one or two walks in the park or around the neighborhood. Supervised swimming in a pool is also a great, low-impact form of exercise. Whatever fitness routine you develop for your senior pet, monitor them to be sure they are not overdoing it.

Meet Them Where They Are

Finally, it’s often necessary to make practical accommodations for pets in their golden years. This could mean buying a pet ramp, moving their food and water bowls downstairs, keeping objects out of their path, or raising the temperature in your home. Along with finding ways to accommodate their needs, be sure to spend quality time with them each day.

Just like people, pets require changes to be made if they are to maintain a high quality of life in their golden years. Make sure you have a good vet, and look into tweaking your pet’s diet and adding supplements. Learn how to keep them groomed, modify their exercise routine, and make any necessary accommodations to keep them comfortable and safe. Little changes can make a huge difference in keeping your pet happy and healthy as they get older.

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