Caring For Your Ageing Pet

As pet owners, caring for an aging or sick pet is a necessary part of the role. Keeping our pets happy and comfortable as they age is a big responsibility. Cats and small dogs are generally considered old at the age of 7. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans and are considered old when they are approximately 6 years of age. There are several areas of concern when it comes to an ageing pet:

Increased care: When caring for pets in their later years, regular exams are especially important. Old pets should have semi-annual veterinary visits instead of annual visits. When your vet knows your pet well, he or she can make sure any aging issues like arthritis or kidney failure are offset to keep your pet from deteriorating too fast. Pet exams are similar to those for younger pets, but are more in depth, and may include dental care, possible blood work, and specific checks for physical signs of diseases that are more likely in older pets.

Diet: When a pet gets older, its eating habits and dietary needs can change. Geriatric pets often need foods that are more readily digested, have different calorie levels and ingredients, and anti-aging nutrients. Older cats have a reduced ability to digest fat and protein. Older dogs generally need lower-calorie diets to help prevent obesity as their metabolic rate slows down. They also need higher-fibre diets to improve gastrointestinal health. They are likely to become dehydrated a lot faster than younger dogs, so it’s important to make sure that they have plenty of water. Old cats tend to be lean. But if your cat is chubby, adding water to its diet helps keep it active.Feeding special medical diets for the pets can be a big help, and giving medications or supplemental fluids, particularly in cats, can make a big difference in keeping them comfortable and extending their lives.

Mobility: Like it is with older people, keeping older pets mobile through appropriate exercise helps keep them healthier and mobile for long.

Mental health: Pets can get senile. Stimulating them through interactions can help keep them mentally active. If you notice any changes in your pet’s behaviour, consult your veterinarian.

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