A Guide For Caring For Older Pets
Caring for older pets can be challenging as your dog slows down both mentally and physically. At All Aboard Animal Hospital, we offer veterinary care for animals of all ages and we support animal owners when it comes to looking after their older pets. We’ve put together a few tips to help you care for your elderly companion and help them get the most out of their golden years.
Caring For Elderly Pets
As an animal owner it’s important to understand the basics of when your pet ages, and what to look out for daily. It’s difficult to determine when exactly an animal becomes old as it depends on its breed and size. As a guideline, small dogs are considered geriatric at around 14 (human) years. Larger dog breeds are considered geriatric at 10 years old.
Best Practices When Caring for Older Pets
After years of playful fun and cuddles, it’s time to care for your older pets. Focusing on a few key factors will ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy in its final years.
Prioritize Diet and Exercise
It’s common for aging animals to gain fat and lose muscle. While pet food may be branded for senior animals, it’s important to adjust your pet’s diets according to their specific needs. For example, some may need reduced portions while others may need an increase in fiber or food specially formulated to help with liver issues.
As your pet ages, it’s important that they maintain a healthy weight (which may involve cutting back on treats). While this is largely achieved through a nutritious diet, and age-appropriate exercise, which is equally important (even a short walk with regular rest stops can help).
Top tip: A check-up at your local vet should advise on any health and behavioral concerns and how an adjustment in your pet’s diet can assist.
Increase Visits to The Vet
Elderly pets can be more at risk for certain diseases and uncomfortable ailments, ranging from arthritis and reduced eyesight to kidney or liver issues. It’s recommended that elderly dogs visit the vet twice a year for a routine check-up.
These check-ups can help with early diagnosis and offer advice on making adjustments which may involve medication, lifestyle changes, and supplements.
Improve Comfort and Hygiene Levels
There are ways to give your pet dignity by offering a loving, helping hand. For example, an older pet’s hygiene habits may decline. In this instance, you can assist with parasite control, brush their teeth, and comb their fur.
Arthritis is another common symptom of aging animals. While there are supplements and medications available (which may be advised by your veterinarian) there are also small adjustments that you can make in the home. For example, you can move their bed to a comfortable place, put out rugs and carpets to prevent slipping, and consider a ramp.
What To Look Out For In Elderly Animals
- Kidney disease – decreased appetite, increased thirst (and urination), decreased or no urination
- Urinary tract disease – blood in urine, weakness, increased urination, and spotting
- Heart disease – coughing, difficulty breathing, decreased exercise, and vomiting
- Cancer – abdominal swelling, difficulty breathing, and eating, lumps or bumps
- Arthritis – favoring a limb, difficulty moving, seeming stiff
High-Quality Vet Care for Aging Pets
If you’re looking for state-of-the-art medical care for your aging companion in Pompano Beach, then book an appointment with our expert veterinary team.
For more valuable insight and tips on caring for your pet, you can follow All Aboard Hospital on Facebook.