While the exact age that your pet is considered “old” can vary depending on species, size, and breed, one thing is for sure: our animal companions need our love and care as they get older! As your pet enters their senior years, there are several things you can do to make sure that they stay happy and healthy.
One of the best ways to make sure your senior pet stays in good shape is by having them examined at the veterinarian’s office regularly. This way, health concerns can be found early and treated quickly. Plus, your vet can offer tips on continuing to keep your aging pet in good health as time goes on.
Senior pets’ nutritional needs are different than those of younger animals. Older pets might need diets that are easier to digest, and they often benefit from diets with specially formulated nutrient levels or anti-aging properties. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is ready to be given a senior formula, and ask for tips on transitioning your pet from the old diet to the new.
Just because your pet has gotten older doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t need preventative care! Vaccinations and pest-control medications are just as important now as they ever have been—since older pets’ immune systems tend to be weaker than those of younger pets, a serious disease or a pest infestation can sideline your aging pet’s health before you know it. Consult your vet right away if your pet needs vaccinations or parasite control medicines.
Exercise is important for your pet’s health throughout life, but it’s especially critical in the senior years. Light exercise helps your pet’s entire body remain more mobile, and it helps keep muscle mass at appropriate levels and also avoids dangerous obesity. Ask your veterinarian what kind of exercise will keep your pet’s body in great shape without over-exerting them.
Keeping your pet stimulated mentally is another key step for maintaining good health in the senior years. Many older companions begin to suffer from cognitive dysfunction—think of it as your pet’s version of Alzheimer’s disease—and mental stimulation can help to avoid it for as long as possible. Play with your pet regularly, and try puzzle toys to give the mind a good workout.
For more tips, contact your vet’s office. We’re here to help!