If you have ever had the pleasure of taking care of a senior pet, you can attest to just how appreciative they are of your love.
Our senior pets often need a bit more attention and care, and they will love you wholly and unconditionally for it. That is because, many seniors are not given the time and attention as they age, especially when a more demanding younger pet is around. Seniors are often the low-key companion.
The team at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital are all about senior pet love! We want to spotlight why they make a great new friend and the ins-and-outs of caring for a senior pet.
Adopting a Senior Pet
If you are also considering adopting a new fur friend, we highly recommend those over the age of 6 years. Younger pets get scooped up quick, while older pets can get overlooked and sometimes languish in shelters. And, there is no reason for it. Many pets over 6 have all of the energy, verve, and zest for life than their younger cohorts do.
Aside from what the pet gets, you, too, get many great benefits when you adopt an older pet:
- You don’t have to go through those terrible puppy/kitten months of house training (and all of the accidents).
- You already know what their personality and disposition are because they have had years to develop into them.
- Most senior pets are more laid back than their younger peers and are less prone to destructive behavior.
- Older pets tend to be more appreciative and loving of the time you invest in them.
- The great feeling you get with saving a senior pet from the shelter and giving them a furever home.
Caring for Your Adorable Senior Pet
Senior pets require all of the basic daily care and veterinary attention as any other pet, but they do have some special considerations. As a pet ages, just like people, they are at increased risk of various medical conditions and disease that comes with an aging body. Age, though, doesn’t mean your pet won’t be healthy. Keeping up with solid wellness care can keep them just as robust and thriving.
Senior Pet Wellness
Bringing your pet in for an annual examination is the first step in maintaining health and vitality. The components of senior pet wellness rely on:
- Head to tail examination
- Comparing your pet’s baseline of health from previous exams to make a note of any changes
- Adjusting lifestyle and diet to manage any conditions, such as weight gain
- Using diagnostics to get a better look at what’s going on, like blood work and urinalysis
- Cognition and behavioral assessment
- Dental exam (many pets over the age of 3 have periodontal disease)
Diet and Nutrition
Most seniors will benefit from a diet formulated for older pets. Your veterinarian or nutritionist can help determine the right choice in brand and what that includes. Some pets get an added advantage from supplements like fish oils and glucosamine, or perhaps prescription diets to give them the right nutrition to combat the effects of living a long life.
Keep Them Moving
Older pets are prone to obesity, as they are not as active as younger pets. To avoid this, feed your pet the correct portion size and limit treats. Instead, offering some fun, gentle walks to the park, new games and activities, and toys can be awesome rewards and keep your furry one moving. If your pet has orthopedic issues, like arthritis, ask us about swimming, stretching, massage, and other things that can help.
Seniors have all of the curiosity as their younger peers and are prone to boredom without new stimuli. Keep things fresh for your fur pal by engaging with them frequently. Talking to your senior is another supportive way to give them mental enrichment and up the bond you share with your best friend.
If toys and activities become lackluster, add some challenging mental games for better cognition, or change your walk route up for new smells and sights. Your senior friend will appreciate this new activity, and so will you!
To learn more about caring for a senior pet, please contact us.