Simple Ways to Foster Your Aging Pet’s Health and Happiness
Written by: Jessica Brody
Like humans, pets experience a lot of changes as they progress in age. Many senior pets deal with health issues like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or joint and bone disease. Many battle behavioral issues like disorientation, irritability, anxiety, or decreased interaction with humans. Some undergo several different changes over time.
Whether or not your senior pet is already showing signs of their age, it’s critical to modify their life so that their golden years are as healthy and happy as possible. Here are some practical ways that you can accomplish that:
Get to the vet.
Not surprisingly, pets become more susceptible to diseases and other health problems as they get older. Rather than taking your senior pet to the vet once a year, which you are likely used to, take them at least every six months. That way, you and the vet can stay on top of your pet’s health and catch potential problems early enough to treat them. Furthermore, this will give you the opportunity to ask your vet for advice on a wide range of topics, from administering medications to dietary changes that need to be made.
Going to the vet twice a year means that you will be paying twice the bills (at least). Since the costs can quickly add up, look into resources that can help. For example, credit cards like CareCredit can be used for various medical bills, including vet bills. Also, you could ask your vet about putting you on a payment plan. And look into local and national charities that provide funding for veterinary care.
Revisit their diet.
Your pet’s diet will probably need to be modified as they age. Among other reasons, their body requires a different configuration of nutrients, and they may not be as active as they once were, which means they are more susceptible to obesity and the myriad of problems that come with it.
If you have a cat, consider switching to wet food; the higher moisture content in wet cat food can prove beneficial for their health and well-being. Don’t just choose any wet cat food, however. Factor in ingredients, like vitamin and mineral content, and beneficial additives before making a purchase.
Make sure they exercise.
Exercise remains a critical part of your pet’s health and well-being, so you’ll want to ensure that they get the exercise they need. This is especially true if you have a dog, as they are less likely to remain active without your motivation. Be conscious of how you need to modify their exercise routine, such as taking slower, longer walks and avoiding the heat. Monitor them closely to make sure they are not overheating or exhausting themselves.
Groom them often.
Even pets who naturally groom themselves will struggle to do so in their senior years. Learn how to groom your pet at home, which will save you a significant amount of money while providing you an opportunity to spend time with them. Learn how to bathe them and brush through their fur regularly, and remember to brush their teeth if they allow you to. Another option is to buy treats and toys that are designed to clean your pet’s teeth.
Make other changes.
Finally, consider any other changes you can make to your pet’s living environment and lifestyle. For example, make sure your pet's living area is downstairs so that they don’t have to climb any stairs. Invest in a pet ramp to help them safely and comfortably get up and down from furniture and vehicles. And look into elevated dog bowls, orthopedic beds, and other items that can spoil your pet while benefiting their health.
Every pet’s needs change as they get older. Make sure you’re doing everything within your means to keep your loyal, furry companion healthy and happy in their golden years. Take them to the vet more frequently, modify their diet, and keep them exercising consistently. Lastly, make sure your pet stays well-groomed, and always keep on the lookout for changes you can make to their living environment and lifestyle.