As your pet begins to age, you may find that they need a little more help than before. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make sure your elderly pet is as comfortable and happy as possible.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the common issues faced by senior pets and we’ll be sharing tips on how to make sure your pet is cared for.
Common issues faced by older pets
Mobility issues are one of the most common problems faced by older pets.
These issues can make it difficult for an animal to get around and do the things they enjoy.
This can have a significant impact on their quality of life.
There are a number of ways to help your pet cope with mobility issues.
- You can provide them with ramps or stairs to help them get around, or you can invest in a pet stroller.
- You should also make sure that their bed is comfortable and easy for them to get in and out of.
- If your pet is having difficulty using the stairs, you can try carrying them up and down or use a children’s safety gate to reduce the risk of your furry friend falling down the stairs.
Vision and Hearing Loss
If your pet starts bumping into furniture more often or seems hesitant to go for walks, it could be a sign that their vision is starting to fail. Similarly, if they seem unresponsive when you call their name or don’t seem to startle at loud noises, hearing loss could be the culprit.
There are other potential causes of these problems, so it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your pet’s behaviour. But if vision or hearing loss is the cause, there are still plenty of ways to make sure your pet enjoys a high quality of life.
There are many products available to help pets with vision or hearing loss, such as specialised food bowls, leashes, and toys. You can also find collars with built-in GPS tracking devices, to help you find your pet even if they wander off.
There are a number of things you can do to help your pet adjust to losing their sight or hearing, including :
- Training them with hand signals or verbal cues
- Keeping them in a safe and familiar environment
- Making sure their food and water bowls are in the same place every day
Cognitive decline can cause pets to have difficulty remembering things and learning new tasks.
There are a number of things you can do to help your pet with cognitive decline, including:
- Training them with positive reinforcement
- Keeping them in a routine
- Playing brain games with them
Dental disease is a common problem in older pets. It can cause inflammation and pain in the mouth and can make it difficult for an animal to eat.
Animals with dental disease may lose weight, have bad breath, and may start to drool excessively. If you think your pet may have dental disease, it’s important to take them to the vet for an examination. Treatment will typically involve a professional cleaning and possibly extractions.
There are a number of things you can do to help prevent dental disease, including:
- Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly
- Feeding them a healthy diet
- Giving them chew toys to help keep their teeth clean
Arthritis is a common problem in older pets, and can cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving. Treatment will typically involve medication and/or physiotherapy.
There are a number of things you can do to help relieve the pain of arthritis, including:
- Giving them joint supplements
- Providing a soft bed for them to sleep on
- Plenty of exercise, including taking your dog for regular walks
Senior pets can be prone to a number of skin disorders, which can cause them a great deal of discomfort.
Some common skin problems faced by older animals include:
- Dry skin
- Itchy skin
To help your pet with a skin disorder, your vet may suggest you change their diet or grooming routine.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are a common problem in older pets. Symptoms of a urinary tract infection can include:
- Frequent urination
- Urinating in small amounts
- Straining to urinate
- Blood in the urine
Treatment for a urinary tract infection may include antibiotics.
Senior pets have an increased risk for cancer. Symptoms of cancer can vary depending on the type and location of the tumor, but can include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Treatment for cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
Ways you can take more care of your older pet
Senior pets need exercise just as much as younger pets do. In fact, lack of exercise can be dangerous for older animals, leading to health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and joint pain.
Regular exercise is important for our senior pets because it helps keep them healthy and strong. It also helps keep their minds sharp by stimulating blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
There are a number of ways you can exercise your older pet, including:
- Taking them for walks
- Playing fetch with them
- Going for swims
Whatever activity you choose, it’s important to make sure that you start slowly and build up gradually if your pet has had a break from exercise. Senior pets may not be able to handle the same level of exercise as younger animals.
Just as people need a healthy diet as they age, so too do older pets. Pets age more quickly than humans, so it’s important to make sure they’re eating the right things. Senior pets have different nutritional needs than younger pets and feeding them the wrong things can lead to health problems.
A good diet for an older pet includes plenty of protein and fibre to help them maintain a healthy weight, and fatty acids to help keep their coat and skin healthy. Senior pets also need more water than younger pets, so make sure they always have fresh, clean water available.
Affection and physical contact
Senior pets need love and affection just as much as their younger counterparts. In fact, they may need it even more, as they can sometimes feel isolated and lonely as they age.
One of the best ways to show your senior pet that you love them is by giving them plenty of physical contact. Pets thrive on touch, and it can be very calming and comforting for them. So don’t be afraid to give your senior pet lots of hugs, cuddles, and rubs.
Senior pets also appreciate a good game of fetch or tug-of-war now and then. It helps them stay active and can be a great bonding time for you both. Just make sure not to play too rough – your senior pet isn’t as sprightly as it used to be!
Senior pets need as much grooming as ever to keep them healthy and looking their best. Just like with people, a little bit of care goes a long way in keeping our furry or feathered friends comfortable and content. In fact, there are some specific things we should be on the lookout for when it comes to Senior Pets and Grooming:
- Skin disease
– Senior Pets can be more susceptible to skin problems. This means that we need to be extra careful when brushing or combing them. Be sure to use a soft brush or comb and take your time. If you notice any redness, swelling, or crusty patches, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.
- Mobility issues
– They may have more difficulty with movement. This can make it harder for them to reach certain spots when they are trying to groom themselves. As a result, you may need to help them out by gently brushing those areas for them.
- Changes in temperature
– Older Pets may be more sensitive to changes in temperature. This means that you should avoid using hot water when bathing them or grooming them. Instead, use lukewarm water and be sure to dry them off completely afterwards.
Care for older pet rabbits
Just as with humans, pets age and eventually reach a point where they need special care. For rabbits, this usually means that they enter their “senior years.” Senior rabbits have different needs than younger ones, and it’s important to know what those are in order to keep them healthy and content.
One of the most important things to do for a senior rabbit is to make sure they are getting enough exercise. Just like with people, rabbits can become sedentary as they age and this can lead to health problems. Make sure your rabbit has plenty of toys and space to hop around. You could even take them out for short walks on a harness if possible.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that senior rabbits may have special dietary needs. As they age, they may become less able to digest their food properly, so it’s important to talk to your vet about switching to a Senior formula diet. Additionally, older rabbits may need more fibre in their diet to help keep them regular. This can be accomplished by adding hay and/or fresh vegetables to their diet.
… senior feathered friends, too!
Senior pet birds require a little extra TLC to ensure they remain content and safe. Here are ways to make sure your aging bird has the best possible life:
- Make sure their cage is large enough – Senior birds need plenty of space to move around, and should have a variety of perches at different levels to keep them active.
- A bigger cage also means more space for toys, which are important for keeping your bird’s mind sharp.
- Senior pet birds also require a diet rich in antioxidants to help ward off disease. Many commercial bird foods now include these nutrients, but you can also supplement with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Special, professional attention for your senior fur baby
The most important way to care for your older beloved family pet is through regular checkups at your local vet.
At Matraville veterinary practice, our veterinarians and nursing staff are professional and experienced, having cared for hundreds of pets. Some recommendations include:
– We recommend our more senior pets visit us at least twice a year. Pets age faster than people and this gives us the chance to make sure they are healthy, comfortable and happy.
– We will make sure your pet is current with any required vaccinations but, if you have any concerns, please contact us.
– We have modern, state-of-the-art surgery facilities on site. Your pet will receive the best attention here, including dental procedures.
– Our in house pathology team can detect disease in your pet’s organs before there are any clinical signs. We can then help to slow down the onset of the disease, allowing our beloved senior pets to have a comfortable, good quality of life for many years to come.
Contact Matraville Veterinary Practice today and make your next appointment to visit us with your older furry family member.