Ways to Keep an Aging Pet Comfortable
Aging is an inevitability. This holds true of everything in nature, and is especially true for those in our lives, from family members to pets. Pets generally have much lower life expectancies than humans do, and as a result, you might go through a number of pets throughout your life. It is important, therefore, that you are able to care for an aging pet and ensure that they’re comfortable as they become senior animals. This goes for everything from changing the layout of your home to engaging in certain exercises and activities. With proper care, you’ll provide a comfortable space for your pets as they gracefully age.
Easy Movement Around the House
While in the days of their youthful, puppies and kittens are endlessly energetic and can get everywhere. They may jump onto countertops, rest on the back of sofas, hop on the top of the doors and spring onto the dining room table. They may have no trouble getting up onto bed at night, too, and can effortlessly go up and down as they wish.
When pets age, though, it becomes more dangerous for them to jump from great heights, and they may fall when trying to get to the places they always loved to hang out on. Their bones become more brittle and they have less coordination as they age.
What you can do is make furniture easier to access. You can invest in small ramps that your pets can walk up. This way, they’ll put no pressure or wear and tear on their joints, and they’ll still be able to get to their favorite spots.
You can also elevate or lower certain things in the home to keep an aging pet comfortable, like food dishes and water bowls, beds, litter boxes, and more. This will help your pet do less strenuous movement and will better protect them if they have arthritis, stiffness, limps, and more.
Additionally, there may be obstacles in the house that your pet cannot clear as easily anymore. They may have trouble seeing as they age, so a clear path with enough light is crucial. This will let them still be mobile while simultaneously reducing the chances they’ll collide with something in the home.
Change Up Your Pet’s Exercise
Spry pets often become less energetic as time wears on. However, a sedentary life isn’t healthy for them, and they’ll still need some form of physical activity to prevent damaging weight gain and other issues.
You can tone down the intensity level of exercise, but it’s crucial that you keep up the routine. You do not need to take your dog on extremely long walks or bring them to the dog park to run for hours with other dogs. You can substitute shorter walks and calmer play sessions with other dogs. In this same vein, if you have a younger pup with an older dog, you should pay close attention to make sure the younger pup doesn’t cause any inadvertent damage.
For cats, you can continue to play with them with laser pointers and balls, but don’t try to tire them out or have them jump too much. They should be able to relax after playtime and not be running around like exuberant kittens.
Adjust Your Pet’s Diet
Many pets become more sensitive to food as they age. What they used to regard as favorite treats and snacks may give them upset stomachs or cause them to gain weight more easily now that they are less active. It’s important to monitor your pet’s diet and change what’s necessary to keep your pet comfortable as they age.
A good choice is to talk with your veterinarian and see what kind of diet is best. Because dogs and cats have slower metabolic rates as they age, they’ll require less calories and fats. You can feed them less, but don’t feed them less-nutritious food. Keep a diet that is high in protein and promotes retention of muscle mass without increasing levels of fat.
Also, do not drastically or suddenly switch your pet’s diet, especially to food that they’ve never had. You’ll want to gradually change the food over a few months to get your pet used to it. A sudden change may cause an upset stomach, or your pet will ignore the food because it isn’t what they’re used to.
Be Hands-On and Helpful
Your pet cannot outright communicate with you when something is wrong or hurtful. It’s important that you look for signs of damage or injury. To be extra sure, you can help your pet onto furniture or carry them up and down the stairs. You can feed them by hand or make sure that they aren’t straining to get treats.
If your pet has mobility issues as they age, you can help reduce their chances of injury by simply being more hands-on.
Increase Their Comfort
Pets usually have areas they love to rest and sleep in, so you can increase their comfort levels by laying down additional blankets and pillows, covering them, and making sure there are no hard surfaces nearby. Even though pets may have been perfectly at ease to rest somewhere hard or rough, it isn’t necessary as they age.
If you live somewhere with harsh winters, you can also invest in sweaters for your pets. This will help keep them warm if they aren’t fans of being covered. As pets age, they generally become more docile, so you’ll likely find it easier to fit them with the sweaters or clothes you weren’t able to before when they were youngsters.
Moving On With Gentle Pet Crossing
As your pets age, it will eventually become time to say goodbye. Celebrate the richness of the time you spent together and see to it that you retain a keepsake from your pet. Gentle Pet Crossing is invested in pet owners and their furry family members, and we want to make sure that they are remembered fondly after they pass. Contact us today to learn more about our sanctuary, our aquamation services, our keepsakes, and more.