Tips for Caring for Senior Pets
Cats may have nine lives, and our pooches may live their life a little more quickly in dog years, but there is no softer spot in our hearts than that held by our beloved senior pets. November is all about senior pets, making it the perfect opportunity for sending some love to our older pet companions! Here are six must-know tips for caring for senior pets.
1. The Regular Checkup
From puppy- or kittenhood to senior years, the annual examination is an important part of pet health, most important in your pet’s mature years. It’s a common thought that seven of a dog’s years are comparable to one year of human life, but in fact that formula is a little more complex.
The American Veterinary Association explains that 15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life, the second year for a dog equals about nine years for a human, and every year after that equates to approximately five years for a dog. And because pet’s years are not the same as humans, it’s all the more important to make sure to keep the regular checkup, each and every year. Let’s put it this way; it’s like your 75-year-old grandmother not going to the doctor for five years!
2. Good Teeth, Long Life
For almost every type of animal (humans included), the condition of the teeth can be a powerful indicator of the overall condition of the body, and daily dental care and regular dental checkups can prevent the creation of problems elsewhere in the body. For dogs and cats, ignoring the teeth can cause a buildup of tartar and bacteria, bacteria that can travel through the bloodstream and cause problems in other parts of the body, including the heart, liver and kidneys.
Regular brushing with veterinarian approved toothpaste and pet-friendly toothbrush as well as annual professional cleaning can do wonders for your pet’s overall health. And when choosing toys and treats for your pets, select options made for promoting good dental health.
3. Let’s Get Physical
Science tells us that an object in motion stays in motion, and symbolically speaking, pets that keep movement in their lives will keep moving longer. As pets age, their energy can wane, but this is not the time to let them become couch potatoes. Just like humans, as pets age, metabolism and energy decline, making the body susceptible to weight gain and even obesity, as well as a score of other health problems, including diabetes and even mental health issues like depression.
Regular exercise promotes a healthier waistline and a better outlook, for both you and your pet! Plan a time daily to take your dog for a walk or play indoors with your cat. It’s important to keep moving as pets age into their senior years. This alone can add precious time to their lives!
4. You Are What You Eat
If you ate fast food cheeseburgers and French fries every day, how would your body respond? Now imagine doing that for years. In what state would your organs be? What would your waistline look like? The same can be said for your pet’s diet. If their food is full of less-than-quality ingredients and meaningless fillers, what part is it really playing in their nourishment and overall health? Choosing the right food for your pet is important their whole lives, but especially in their senior years.
Wholesome, thoughtful ingredients make all the difference, and making sure your pet is receiving those ingredients in a tasty way assures good eating habits as well! If you don’t already know what’s in your pet’s food, give the ingredient list a once-over. Then switch to something better!
5. The Better to See You With, The Better to Hear You With
Often the first signs of aging in our pets are changes to their vision and/or hearing. Many pets develop cataracts or dwindling vision loss in their later years, and many lose some if not all of their hearing. It’s important to recognize the signs of these issues and take the proper precautions to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort.
A few suggestions:
• Make sure there is clear path to food and water.
• Create an environment that makes it easy for your to pet to go outside to relieve himself, or make it easy for him to alert you that he needs to go.
• Always keep your pet on a leash when outdoors; he may not hear or see dangers as they approach.
• Talk with your veterinarian about any supplements or treatments that may offer benefits for hearing or vision loss.
6. Patience is a Virtue
Senior pets require a little more love and attention than their younger counterparts, and thankfully we love them and want to make their lives safe, comfortable, healthy, and happy in their golden years. Sometimes they are going to move a little slower, or perhaps have an accident when they haven’t gone in the house since the puppy years.
These are the moments for patience and remembering our roles as caretakers. It’s up to use to make sure we are doing everything we can to provide a safe, loving environment. It’s up to use as pet owners to prepare for the challenges and meet them with kindness.
We love senior pets at Wellness Pet Food, and we’re proud to create wholesome, nourishing food that can promote longer, happier lives for dogs and cats everywhere. In fact, we offer food specifically made for senior pets. Find out more now!