An older pet has different requirements than their younger counterparts when it comes to nutrition, health and movements. Getting older is not a sickness but your aging friend will need a different kind of attention. Genetics, nutrition and environment play a role in how fast your pet actually ages.
As your dog or cat gets older, they may develop arthritis or other diseases that will slow them down and prevent them from walking or moving as much as before. Getting up or finding a nice position might get more difficult for them. They can become reluctant to move up and down stairs, jumping up and down from counters or getting into a car.
Dental diseases are a real threat and can cause your pet to lose teeth or have difficulty eating. Proper dental hygiene is important and can be achieved by brushing your furry friend’s teeth and/or giving them some treats designed to keep the teeth and jaws healthy. If your pet is losing weight, it can also be due to a disease on their kidneys, liver, heart and so on. On the other hand, some pets become (even more of) couch potatoes with age and therefore gain weight. Obesity itself is a health issue but also leads to problems with their skin and heart. Regular, yearly visits with your veterinarian are crucial to make sure your pet is doing alright. Your vet can help you find a balanced, high-quality diet for your pet, whether they need to lose some weight or need a special diet because of their diseases.
Exercise is important to keep your pet in their ideal weight and to help their joints and muscles. Just remember to tailor the exercise to meet your pet’s requirements. You can walk your cat outside if they are used to wearing a harness. Toys and food puzzles will also keep your pet active and entertained indoors.
Ramps and steps can help your pet to move more individually. You can provide steps for your cat to reach their favorite windowsill. Providing a carpet over a hard surface will help your pet gain footing, especially when they standing up. Make it easy for your cat to access the things they enjoy and/or need. For example, you can provide them with multiple litter boxes in different rooms and use litter boxes with lower sides for easy access. Be sure that food and water are always available for your friend.
Nightlights will help older pets to navigate as their eyesight might get poorer with age. Consider your blind pet by keeping their environment as consistent as possible, especially the litter boxes and their food and drink bowls. Do not pick them up by surprise but call their name beforehand. Deaf pets appreciate it if you approach them from the front so they can see you. Keep them in short leash or otherwise safe from cars when outdoors.
Routines are important to pets in general, but they are especially comforting to older pets. Some pets even require more attention and enjoy the company of their human friends more when getting older. As much as possible, stick to routines and remember to give your senior pet extra love and care. Enjoy every day you get to spend with them!