6 Changes to Make When Caring for Your Senior Pet

Written by Nick Burton of Email:


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.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Five Steps to Finding Your First Pet and Bringing Them Home

Written by Jessica Brody of

DogCaring for a pet is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. When you are a first-time owner, it’s easy to think only of the excitement that comes with getting a new pet. Fortunately, preparing for a new addition to the family is simple once you know where to start.

What Works for You?

Our needs can guide our choices, but we must also think about the needs of our pet. You may have children eager for a puppy, but that pooch could be overwhelmed by kids. If you live in an apartment, you may also find that certain breeds are too active for smaller spaces that lack yards. Also, your own lifestyle may preclude animals that need frequent exercise or attention, particularly if you work long hours or have health issues. Unfortunately, allergies may also exclude types that are not hypoallergenic. While there are medications, it may not be practical or enough to justify a pet that could not be fully enjoyed otherwise.

Make Your Home a Sanctuary

Home is not automatically a safe place for animals. They can be filled with dangers like cables, scary sounds, and overwhelming foot traffic. With this in mind, it’s good to go over everything and make adjustments from the perspective of your new friend. If rooms have chemicals or toxic plants, or you just want to protect an area from exuberance, then gates will be wise. You should also make it a habit to put away food and choking hazards, as leaving them on tables can be a temptation. Don’t worry, however, as childproof latches on cupboards should be sufficient to avoid accidents. Pet-proofing a home may sound involved, but it’s worth it.

Have the Tools

Once your home is adapted, you should stockpile basic supplies to ease your experience. After all, animals can get into mishaps, so anticipate your cleaning needs. For instance, you will require products to address carpet odors and stains, though everyday ingredients like baking soda can work just as well. Depending on your animal, you will also need bedding, bowls, toys, and accessories. It’s best to know what your plans will be, as this can help your preparations. If you intend on taking nature walks, you should invest in gear, such as LED lights and booties, to protect your pup. Conversely, felines will thrive with climbing towers and toys to stimulate their days indoors. Your choices can inspire your pet, and make them feel comfortable.

Nurture a Schedule

Familiarity reassures many animals, so ease your pet’s transition with a predictable schedule for feeding and walks. If your buddy is a rescue, ask the shelter about their routines, and try to adapt to them. Of course, that is easier said than done, as work commitments may not be accommodating. Yet, you do have options, like hiring professional walkers to take your companion out when you are away. In fact, you could even bring in pet sitters to play with your friend when you cannot. Be vigilant, though, as they may need time before being introduced to strangers, and this is most true of rescues. If you are concerned, use their favorite belongings to help them ease into their new home and reduce stress.

Connect the Dots

Bonding can be encouraged through various techniques, from training and grooming to being seen as a provider of food and shelter. Indeed, just being close to our companions can be enough to plant the seeds of trust and affection. So, don’t hold back with your love, and pet and play whenever your friend allows it. You do have to be patient, however, as bonding will take time, regardless of whether your pet is adopted. They may be full of nerves and anxiety, and forcing interactions can be counterproductive to earning trust. This means you will have to watch out for physical indicators that it’s okay. Lastly, reward good behavior with treats and acknowledgment, and you’ll be inseparable in no time.

It’s understandable to want to focus only on the joy of having a pet. However, without proper planning, you and your companion can experience needless stress. So, make your journey together a happy and unforgettable one.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Networking With Other Professional Pet Sitters

I have to admit that even though I love what I do, it can get lonely at times! I worked in banking all my life and was used to having co-workers! That’s why I created Bradenton/Sarasota Professional Pet Sitters. We have a private Facebook page where we can turn when we need advice or support. We also meet for breakfast at The Recipe Box in Bradenton when we can. That’s where this picture was taken just recently.  We are all professionals and do this full time. Our heart and souls are in our businesses! The best thing about our group is that we are comfortable referring each other to pet parents when we can’t take a job ourselves! So…..if you reach out to me for pet sitting and I am already booked, I can send you to one of these lovely and professional pet sitters! 

Check out our article in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Suncoast Pet……