As pets age, they may need more TLC to stay happy and healthy. 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. That’s why it’s important to start providing your senior pet with the extra care they need as soon as possible.
Here are some tips for effective geriatric dog care, as well as for aging cats:
1. Comfortable Bed for Sleeping
Older pets may have a tougher time regulating their body temperature, so you must give them a comfortable place to sleep. You can purchase a pet bed designed for older animals or make one yourself out of a soft blanket or towel.
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 it’s important to catch any early issues.
Take them to your trusted vets, such as KMVet.com, to track your pet’s 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 preventive care for your pet against common threats.
7. Oral Protection
Pets’ teeth can also start to wear down as they get older, leading to dental problems. You can help protect your pet’s teeth by brushing them regularly with pet-safe toothpaste and giving them chew toys that help scrape plaque off their teeth.
You can also purchase a pet water additive for felines that helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
This guideline is just a part of the broader care you can do for your senior 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 veterinarian San Diego) who can provide you with the best advice for keeping them healthy and comfortable.