Caring For Elderly Pets

These days pets are living longer but as they get older they have changing needs so you’ll need to adapt the way you care for them. Take a look at some of our top tips to help maintain a healthy happy lifestyle for your pet.

Choosing the right diet

  • If your pet is less active now they're getting a little older, then they'll need fewer calories.
  • It’s important to feed your pet quality food and try to limit their portion sizes.
  • Diabetes in pets is on the up so its important your pet is fed healthy foods as being obese can put unwanted strain and pressure on your pets joints.
  • There are special foods and supplements available to help with muscle and joint issues.
  • There are also special diets available for pets with kidney or heart diseases.
    Your vet will be able to advise you on the best diet for your pet, offering them the nutrients they need.

Keeping active

  • It's always important to keep your pet active as it can help keep your pet at a healthy body weight.
  • Exercise can also help slow down the effects of arthritis.
  • Walks are a great way to keep your pet moving and give them the fresh air they need. Start with ten to fifteen minute walks; only increase the distance if your pet is fully capable and not in any pain or discomfort. If your dog looks too tired, it's time to stop.
  • If you have access to a pool, swimming can be a fun and relaxing activity for your pet. Swimming vests are available to help give your dog extra support if and when needed.


Dental hygiene

  • Dental care is vital and cleaning your pet's teeth is important in order to reduce plaque and tartar.
  • Dental diseases can be painful and they can make it difficult for your pet to eat.
    It's important to brush your pet's teeth early on in their life but if you haven’t, it’s never too late to start.
  • The first step is to visit your vet for a veterinary examination and dental clean.
    You’ll need to book in regular check-ups and will have to brush your pet's teeth daily at home.
  • Some pets refuse to have their teeth brushed so a fun alternative is to use dental treats to help keep teeth clean and gums healthy.

Grooming

  • Older pets can often experience stiffness so may find it more difficult to groom themselves.
  • It’s important to help groom your pet to keep their coat in a good condition, ensuring it doesn't mat up and cause pain or discomfort. While doing this its important to check for any lumps, bumps and painful areas.
  • You may need to wipe away discharge from your pet's eyes, nose and anus using separate pieces of soft cotton dipped in warm water for each area.
  • As your pet gets older their claws tend to get thicker and longer so it’s always a good idea to visit your vet regularly so they can clip them accordingly.


Toilet habits

  • If you have a dog it's always important to take them to the toilet regularly as their bladder may be weaker now they're a little older.
  • If you have a cat, although they may have access to the great outdoors, it’s also important to keep a cat litter tray indoors just in case they need the toilet urgently – this will also allow you to check their urine and stools for any blood or other indications of disease.


Veterinary care

  • As your pet gets older, health checks are essential so it’s important to visit your vet regularly. Senior pets are advised to see their vet every six months.
  • Age-related diseases and their symptoms can be easily missed.
  • Through regular check-ups and tests your vet is able to understand what is normal for your pet at their age which will help bring any issues to light.


Keeping your pet safe

Some pets lose their sight or hearing as they get older so it’s important to:

  • Remove dangerous objects out of harm’s way.
  • Use pet gates to create a safe environment when they're not being supervised.
  • Use hand signals for pets who struggle to hear.


Accessibility

  • It can be difficult for your pet to get around if they have joint related problems or arthritis.
  • Creating ramps can make getting around the house easier for your pet.
  • Litter trays should be easily accessible.
  • Orthopaedic beds can be used to relieve pressure on their joints and keep them comfortable.
  • Therapeutic and hydrotherapy massages can also be effective for dogs with joint pains but always consult your vet first.
  • Your vet should be able to provide you with a list of the latest therapies and treatments available.


Mental stimulation

  • It's always important to keep your pet’s mind active, even older cats and dogs can learn new tricks.
  • Puzzle or treat toys are great stimulation as they require your pet to workout how to get the treats out.
  • For all pet's, keeping plenty of toys around the house is recommended so they can engage with them regularly.
  • Always interact and play with your pet to encourage body and mind stimulation.


Love and affection

  • As your pet ages, physical contact is more important than ever before.
  • Always show your pet you love them with a little affection and a head rub.
  • Use a brush to help relax and comfort your pet, this will also help with the grooming process.
  • Therapeutic massages are really enjoyable and for those pets with joint pains, they can often relieve some of the pressure and pain.


We love our pets and they’re an important part of our family, they're reassuring and a constant presence in our lives. Pet insurance provides peace of mind and can help to cover the cost of unexpected vet fees when your pet needs treatment due to an accident or illness.

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