Just like with a friend or family member, your pet needs your care as it gets older. It can be heartbreaking to see them struggle as they age. However, it is a chance to reciprocate the unconditional love they give. It will expand its lifespan and help it live as long as possible.
So, how should pet care change as your pet as they age?
As your pet ages, its metabolism changes. You will need to change their diet because senior pets are prone to obesity. Thus, check the quantity and the quality of food you give them. Pet food for seniors should contain less fat but have similar protein amounts as adult pet food. You can also provide smaller meals more often. It will help top up their depleting energy reservoirs. But watch how often you do it, and do not overfeed it.
Obesity can cause severe health issues and affect pets' joints, decreasing mobility. It can also result in diabetes or other complications. Also, make sure you do not underfeed your pet. Otherwise, they will become underweight, compromising their immunity and depleting their energy levels. Ask your vet to advise you on which nutrients to look for in pet foods. Ensure they get all the minerals and nutrients they need to age well.
Exercise and games are vital for your pet's health and happiness. However, you may need to cut down on vigorous workouts. They may be too much for their sore joints and muscles. Try short walks and games that occupy their minds more than their muscles. They will stay sharp, and at the end of the day, they will be happy and sleepy. They will also be healthy.
Increased Vet Care
Most people take their pets to the vet once a year. However, when you have a senior pet, you need to increase the frequency of visits. The reason for increasing vet visits is that senior pets have more health risks. They are more likely to develop arthritis and cancer. They may also have other complications.
Senior pets need to avoid stairs as they can spell disaster for them. Hence, you may need to relocate their rest and sleeping area. They also spend more time indoors. So, something that they can conveniently check in and out of is more appropriate.
Some senior pets may also have disabilities. Their special needs may require that you make them more comfortable to avoid any inconvenience for you and your pet.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Senior pets already have a hard time eating and digesting their food. Having dental disease will only make feeding more painful and difficult. Thus, it is crucial to find ways of taking care of their oral hygiene. You can get them dental toys or treats if your pet will not tolerate brushing. These will keep their teeth clean and massage their gums, keeping them healthy.
Remember to Be Affectionate
Your pet will need your affection increasingly as it ages. Avoid skimping on it! Rub their belly, and scratch their ears to let them know you love them. Spending this time with them will also strengthen your bond.
For more information on caring for your pets as they age, contact Montana Veterinary Hospital & Boarding at our Bozeman, Montana office. Call (406) 586-2019 to schedule an appointment today.