Did you know that a dog is classified as a senior pet by the age of seven and a cat by 11-14? Aging can happen fast in a pet’s life. Eventually, your young, vigorous pet will be a senior.
The ages at which pets become classified as seniors vary with the pet and the size. Dogs become seniors much earlier than cats, with smaller dogs aging slower than larger dogs.
That said, senior pets have different needs than their younger counterparts. Senior pets are not as vigorous as they used to be and are also less mobile. Also, their eyesight and hearing deteriorate significantly. Senior pets also tend to be more susceptible to disease than younger pets.
Here are five tips on caring for a senior pet:
Watch the Diet
Senior dogs and cats usually have challenges with food. These may include obesity, chewing, and lack of appetite. They will also require less energy and calories because they are less active than they used to be. You will need to adjust your pet’s diet to maintain a healthy weight and good muscle mass. In addition, a good diet will ensure their immune system is strong and functioning correctly.
When pets are overweight, they are predisposed to joint problems and disease when they are older. Supplements like fish oils and glucosamine are suitable for your pet if it has joint issues.
Visit the Vet
It is essential to have regular visits to the vet for all pets, but it is necessary for senior pets. Senior pets are more predisposed to diseases than younger pets. Therefore, regular visits to the vet mean an early diagnosis of diseases. It will allow you to manage the health of your pet more effectively.
Senior pets must visit the vet at least once every six months. Blood work, examinations, and dental care will allow the vet to establish a way to track the pet’s health.
Maintain Oral Health
As your pet grows older, you should pay more attention to its oral health. Dental diseases can cause tooth loss and pain and make chewing difficult. It would help if you brushed your pet’s teeth every day to keep them healthy. If you cannot brush your pet’s teeth, you can try to give them dental toys and treats.
As your pet ages, it becomes more important to give them regular exercise. They might not be as vibrant or vigorous as they used to be, but exercise is still essential to their health. Regular activities will keep the muscles of your pet healthy and strong. Exercise will help keep joints healthy, improve mood, prevent obesity, and stimulate appetite.
Upgrade Your Home for a Senior Pet
As pets age, they develop joint and bone issues, limiting their mobility range. Also, if your pet is blind, it will have trouble finding the furniture in the house. You must adjust your home setting to accommodate these changes in your pet. For example, you can get them a bed they can access if they are blind.
For more tips on caring for a senior pet, call Madison Animal Care Hospital at 256-461-7575 to reach our office in Madison, Alabama. For emergencies, call Huntsville Veterinary & Specialist Emergency at (256) 715-8389.