How to Improve Your Senior Pet’s Quality of Life
As your pet ages, they’ll need extra care and attention. They’ll start to experience mobility issues as well as potential internal illnesses. Making them comfortable during their senior years is also important to ensure that they have an improved quality of life. Here is how you can improve your senior pet’s quality of life at home.
Make Adjustments At Home
As your pet ages, their bones and joints will start having issues, and you’ll need to make adjustments at home to ensure that they’re comfortable getting around the house. For older pets that have issues getting up onto furniture like beds or couches, you could install ramps or steps for them to easily climb up.
Incontinence is also an issue you’ll need to be aware of when it comes to senior pets. For cats, we’d recommend getting shallow litter boxes like the Savic Gizmo Litter Tray, which will allow them to climb in easily to go to the toilet. For dogs, you could consider setting up a “potty” area with pee pads, somewhere close to their frequent sleeping areas with easy access. We also stock diapers for dogs that suffer from incontinence, which you’ll need to replace frequently, but will also help reduce any toilet accidents in your home.
Feed Them An Appropriate Diet & Supplements
Older pets will require more specialized diets as they age, with fewer calories and less protein content. Consider transferring to Senior dog food and cat food to cater to their dietary needs. Dry food is ideal as it will help maintain their dental health as they age. Treats should also be limited as they may be too rich for their kidneys, and older pets are more prone to weight gain.
Providing your pets with supplements as they get older may also help to improve their quality of life. Yumove Dog and Cat will help maintain their mobility and joint health when they’re older, making movement and flexibility more comfortable. You could also consider other multivitamin supplements like MyBeau or Beaphar.
Provide Them With Appropriate Exercise
Even though your pets may be old, they’ll still require exercise to maintain an ideal body weight and keep their muscles & joints healthy. The key is to not over-exert them too much. For dogs, you could take them on short walks in the mornings while the ground is still cool, and in the evenings after sunset. Keep an eye on how tired they are during walks, and if you notice that they’re slowing down too much, shorten the length of the walk itself. For cats, try to encourage short play sessions using teaser toys, or if they’ll allow it, you can even train them to walk on a harness and leash as well!
Provide Them With Enrichment
Enrichment is important for keeping senior pets stimulated mentally. Maintaining healthy brain activity can keep them both happy and healthy for a longer period of time. Consider getting your pet a puzzle feeder for meal times, this will both help them slow down eating, which prevents weight gain and bloat, and also help challenge them and keep them mentally stimulated.
We also have a variety of enrichment toys for dogs and cats available too, which will aid in providing mental stimulation and also keep your pets entertained without over-exerting themselves. You could also try to keep up with their training, who says you can’t teach an old pet new tricks? Training your pet is an excellent way to provide them with enrichment, and bond with them at the same time.
Frequent vet visits and checkups are important for maintaining a healthy and comfortable quality of life for your senior pets. Your local veterinarian can run necessary tests and can provide you with expert advice on how to properly care for your aging fur-babies. You should also be aware of any signs that something may be wrong, such as excessive barking/whining, urinating outside of their litter box or indoors, bad breath, or lethargy. In these instances, it would be best to schedule a visit with your vet and have them give your pet a thorough checkup. Some breeds are prone to genetic predispositions, so it’s important to be aware of what to expect as they get older, like hip dysplasia, allergies, cardiovascular issues, kidney and liver problems, etc. Your vet can provide you with the necessary information, and precautions to keep your pet comfortable and improve their quality of life.
Ensuring that your senior pet has a comfortable quality of life isn’t difficult, you just need to pay attention to their needs and what they’ll require as they get older. Some small additions at home, an updated diet along with healthy supplements, regular exercise, and vet visits are what you need to give your pet some comfort during their “golden years”. The most important thing you can do however, is give them lots of love! They deserve it!