How to Care for Aging Pets

a dog lying on a bed

Pets are not just animals, they are a part of the family. Just like every family member eventually ages and needs assistance, your pet will eventually need your assistance in their senior years. It is not uncommon for your pet to develop diseases and require more attention towards the end of their lifetime and you should seek out insurance or keep a rainy day fund just in case your family member needs veterinary care in their later years.

Seek Quality Veterinary Care

Typically, senior pet care involves more than just changing the mobility aids and dietary needs of your animal. In colder climates, older animals will often acquire arthritis and other joint pain that can be controlled with steroids and shots that only a veterinarian can safely provide. As your pet ages, be sure to keep track of their aches and pains and let your vet know so that they can provide the best care possible for your loved one.

Pay Attention To Dietary Needs

Just like people, animals tend to gain weight in their later years than in their early days. As your pet becomes more senior you should start to look into senior diets. The food meant for senior-aged animals is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates to help your pet manage their weight.

Provide Mobility Assistance

Mobility in pets is almost always an issue. Senior pets will often need your help to climb stairs, get in and out of vehicles, and even get on your bed. There is usually no cure for mobility issues in animals and you could think about building some ramps in your home to help your pet get around.

Give Support For Incontinence

Just like humans, animals can become incontinent in their old age. You’ll find that your animal may not make it outside or to their designated area in time and are not to blame for the accidents. Letting your animal outside or leading them to the litter box often can be a solution to this issue if you’re home most of the time. If you work during the day and don’t have the time to cater to your animal for hours at a time, you may want to break out the tools you used to potty train your pets, like pads and crates.

Help With Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be devastating for animals but they can definitely adapt. Most animals can learn simple sign language like pointing your finger downwards to sit or waving your hand towards you to signal them to come to you. Teaching these signs when they’re young and learning the actions is the best way for them to comprehend fully what you’re asking of them. Speaking with your hands is the best way to get this done. Using a flashlight to get their attention is a great way to try and communicate with your animal. Eventually, your animal will adapt and learn a new way of understanding you.

Offer Special Care During Vision Loss

You can usually tell when your animal is going blind by the shade covering their eyes. Some animals get partially blind and can not see at night. You can make it easier for your pet by leaving lights on or leading them in the dark. If you own a pool, make sure your pet knows the perimeter of the pool by installing a pool safety fence. Fences are pertinent to have with senior animals, especially dogs because they get tired very easily and can drown if they can’t find their way out of a pool.

Taking care of your loved ones when they’re older is hard but you can definitely find a way to cope. Talk to your veterinarian about ways to deal with senior issues and breed-specific issues as your dog ages. Ensure that you’re using sign language regularly with your animals just in case they lose their hearing. Pick up any objects in your home so that your pet isn’t bumping,  tripping, or falling and put up a pool gate for animals who live in a home with a pool.