It’s usually not too difficult to tell when your dog is getting on in years. They lose that bounce in their step, have a reduced appetite, spend more time sleeping, and require more frequent trips to the veterinarian. Weakness and recurring urinary tract problems may be present, as well as canine joint pain or arthritis. Although health problems are inevitable for older pets, you can take steps to make their golden years as comfortable as possible. Here are a few things to consider.
Maintaining a healthy diet can be tricky with an older pet. It might seem like a time to minimize how much you feed them every day, but in many cases, dogs actually require more protein than they did in their youth. As they grow older, it helps keep muscles lean and healthy, and it preserves their organ functions and immune system.
Remember that most dogs do best with high-quality dog foods that are optimized with their health and nutritional needs in mind. Consult with your vet about what your pooch should be eating — if your pet has suddenly become a picky eater, there may be a healthy alternative that will keep them going without packing on the pounds.
If you are used to frequently filling up your pet’s food dish, start cutting back and using portion control. An older cat tends to be less active and doesn’t need as many calories, so go with low-fat protein foods. Don’t give up on exercise, which can lower the risk of health problems. Senior pets still need to move around, use their muscles, and keep the blood circulating.
Stress and Anxiety
As animals get older, they can often become more anxious and stressed out than they were in their younger days, which can often be brought on by loud noisesor other pets. Fortunately, there are ways you can help alleviate these feelings, from removing or distancing your pet from the stressoror taking a trip to his/her vet to see if there is an unlying condition at work. Additionally, some pet owners have turned to CBD oil, which has shown to help lessenstress and anxiety in animals, as well as help with skin issues and joint point. Before selecting one, read up about the different brands of CBD oil on the market, as the dosage and effectiveness tends to vary from product to product, and speak to your vet before beginning this treatment.
Tools and Accessories
Mobility will increasingly become a factor as your pet ages. An older dog that can’t zip up the stairs or hop on and off the couch anymore may require good pet stairsto make the climbing a little easier and reduce the chances of injury. If your older dog is even a little wobbly while trying to brave the stairs at home, it’s probably time to invest in a doggie (or kid) safety gate, which can be anchored to the wall and latched to the other side. As your pet’s cognitive function and eyesight begin to decline, it is also wise to invest in a GPS tracker in the off chance he strays away from your house when your back is turned.
Unfortunately, old age doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about your furry friend having accidents in the house anymore. Incontinence is a common problem among older pets. So, pay close attention to the warning signs; for example, if your pet is agitated or restless, make sure they get outside as quickly as possible to avoid unwanted deposits. You may also consider trying dog diaperswith absorbent pads. Just be sure to change the diaper frequently, since urine can cause skin irritation. If you’re a cat owner, be prepared for a touch of urinary incontinence when your favorite tabby hits old age.
Old age is a bad time to change the furniturearound and make other substantial changes to your pet’s living space. Even a slight loss of vision could cause them to bump into something hard or pointy, or step on something sharp, so try to leave everything as-is. Keep your pet’s walking paths unobstructed. Also, be sure to minimize the clutter, which will benefit both of you.
Old age should be a comfortable time for your pet. Make sure you know which diet is best for your dog or cat, and be prepared to optimize their environment to ensure their safety. Pets have the right to age gracefully, just as people do.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
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