Just like humans, pets have different requirements as they age.
If you have a senior pet, you need to change routine, vet care, and daily activities. Older pets have less energy and might develop health issues such as hearing, cataracts, and organ problems.
Make some adjustments to keep your pet comfortable and healthy. The animal breed will determine when the pet is considered senior. Here is how to care for aging pets.
Keeping Your Pet Active
As pets age, they need to get as much exercise as possible. Your pet may not be as energetic as before, but training is essential for building muscle mass. It will help ensure that the metabolism remains healthy.
Ensure that you walk your dog while also watching for signs of pain. Talk to your vet about the amount of exercise recommended for your pet. You can use a dog monitor to keep track of your pet's activity levels.
An Age-Appropriate Diet
Diet plays a vital role in maintaining good health. Your aging pet will require a diet that will prevent weight gain. Older dogs are more likely to develop obesity due to reduced energy levels. Your vet can recommend the best food for your pet. A low-fat diet with fewer calories will fulfill the pet's nutritional needs. If your senior dog has a health condition, your vet may recommend a special diet.
Regular Vet Visits
Regular vet care is a vital part of caring for aging pets. Older dogs are more prone to illness due to their weaker immune system. Get your pet checked by the vet annually or biannually. Reviewing the blood work will help early detection of any age-related diseases.
The vet will check the red and white blood cells and liver and kidney function and conduct any additional tests. Regular checkups will allow the vet to start early treatment if necessary.
Providing Special Accommodations
It may be necessary to make changes to your pet's living environment. Older dogs may develop arthritis and other joint and bone problems. It can impact the pet's mobility, making it difficult to jump or access a high bed.
Easy accessibility and soft bedding will help keep your pet comfortable. Consider installing doggy-proof gates to prevent the dog from accessing the stairs. A heated or orthopedic dog bed can also help enhance comfort.
Ensure Regular Groomings
The skin and coat may become dull and brittle as your pet ages. Most senior dogs suffer from dry, irritated, and flaky skin. It is vital to ensure that you take care of your pet through regular grooming. Brushing the coat regularly will help avoid tangles and mats. Use natural shampoos to wash the dog. It will help soothe irritated skin. Professional grooming will help ensure that your aging pock gets the best care.
Other ways to care for your aging pet include using a support sling to enhance mobility and installing dog ramps. Installing carpeting around the home will allow your senior pet to move easily. It is essential to maintain the pet's oral health. Ensure that all vaccinations are up to date.
For more on caring for aging pets, visit Goose Creek Veterinary Hospital at our office in Ashburn, VA. Call (571) 291-9110 today to schedule an appointment. For emergency services, visit The LifeCentre at Leesburg, Virginia, or call 703-777-5755.