What You Need to Know About Caring for a Senior Pet
Post courtesy of Jessica Brody
Senior cats and dogs often experience health challenges and need a bit of extra TLC. And while there’s no way to slow down time for your beloved pet, there are ways to make life easier for them. Here’s what you need to know to help your furry family member enjoy their golden years.
Planning for Veterinary Care Is a Must
Whether your pet has a pre-existing condition or not, vet visits can add up. In fact, most pet owners spend an average of $300 to $400 per year—and that’s only on routine vet visits. Thinking ahead—and purchasing pet insurance—can help you manage the costs associated with pet aging. Consider what is offered by each insurance company, including the deductible amounts and coverage options.
Changing Your Home and Habits May Be the Key
For many pet health conditions, your veterinarian can recommend medication to help. When it comes to aging, however, issues like arthritis and incontinence are more common and harder to treat. Even if your pet is on medication, they may need additional care and accommodations at home to live their best life.
If your older pet begins having accidents that aren’t related to a health condition, cleaning up messes can become frustrating, and you may have to call in services like carpet cleaners. These services can come at a significant cost (up to $550), so instead of expecting your cat or dog to change their behavior, changing your habits could prove more effective, explains the ASPCA. For example, leaving potty pads out for your senior cat could prevent accidents from happening. Giving your older dog steps to reach their favorite napping spot could avoid whining and stress.
Choose Medicine Carefully and with Your Vet’s Help
Many senior pets require maintenance medications to remain healthy. But giving your cat, especially, a pill that requires swallowing can be a challenge. While most dogs will take medication inside a treat, some do struggle.
One way you can avoid the trauma of holding your pup or cat down to administer medicine is by choosing a liquid type. Not all meds are available as suspension liquids, of course. But you can ask your veterinarian for advice to make your aging pet’s daily life a little easier. Regardless, you should read the medication information carefully, notes the FDA, as dosing and the right prescription are vital. Also, the same rule applies to the use of CBD products to help alleviate your pet’s pain and inflammation; make sure you speak to your vet before you begin dosing and look for oils with quality ingredients.
Some Foods Might Make Your Pet’s Condition Worse
Pet owners love to give out tasty treats, and pets enjoy receiving them. But if your animal has a health condition—such as a cat with kidney problems—then feeding them extra treats isn’t healthy. Plus, your pet might be on a special diet to begin with, such as a higher-protein meal plan, and unscheduled snacks could throw off the delicate balance. If your pet is having digestive issues, Rudy Green’s gently cooked, unprocessed whole foods can significantly improve your pup’s digestion.
Pay Attention to Symptoms and Monitor Eating Habits
Keeping a close eye on your senior pet can make a difference for their quality of life and overall health. You should ensure your pet is eating regularly, drinking enough water (but not too much), and moving around well enough to use the bathroom and enjoy daily life.
Non-Food Treats Are Always an Excellent Idea
If your pet has special dietary needs, indulging them with treats isn’t wise. However, non-food goodies are a helpful alternative. While many older pets don’t necessarily play with toys, a senior dog might enjoy a soft ball or squeaky toy. Mature cats may enjoy a comfortable bed or a heating pad to curl up on.
Keeping your senior pet comfortable and healthy well into their twilight years is a priority. But understanding their unique needs and challenges is a necessary part of the journey. With these tips, you’ll be on your way toward a happier and more vibrant pet.
To learn more about Rudy Green’s 100% human-edible dog food, call (502) 791-6700 or fill out this contact form!
Photo via Pixabay