Just with as people our senior pets can have different needs than their younger counterparts. The following is a list to keep in mind with regard to their changing needs.
As pets get older sometimes their ability to digest and absorb food may not be as efficient as it once was. As a result, some older pets may need altered diets, which are easily digestible and more palatable. These diets often have added supplements to support brain and joint function.
Fluctuations in weight in older cats and dogs can be a major cause for concern. Dogs and indoor cats, in particular are prone to becoming overweight. This can lead to a multitude of health problems including diabetes and arthritis. Weight loss in any animal warrants investigation, especially however, in older animals, which can be a symptom of kidney disease, diabetes, hormonal conditions and in some cases cancers
Older animals tend to have a weaker immune system than some of their younger counterparts. For this reason, it is important to keep up to date with worming and other parasite control.
It is advised that senior animals are seen twice yearly for a health check by your vet (vs annually for younger pets) in order to identify any impending health problems earlier and hopefully treat and resolve them quicker.
Just as with people older, pets tend to develop arthritis and other conditions, which may make them slow down somewhat. Reduced mobility and weight gain can hugely exacerbate conditions like arthritis, and due to this, it is very important that our senior pets still get appropriate exercise to keep them supple for as long as possible. We stress the word appropriate exercise here however – please feel free to contact us for free advice with regard to this!
Mental well being
As pets become older sometimes some degree of senility can creep in. Whilst there can be some treatment for this, it is vital to keep your pet stimulated with interaction, and encouraged to participate in family life (at a level appropriate for them).
It is also worth noting though that no more so would a ninety- year old person appreciate kids climbing over them, most older pets can feel the same. They should always have a safe quiet area for themselves, where they can escape the general madness of our daily lives.
As pets age sometimes their environment may need adapted to their individual needs. They may no longer be able to negotiate stairs or jumping into cars as they once did, and cats may not appreciate having to jump to feed from heights as they once did as young cats.
You may also find that older pets need more padded bedding to support their ageing joints. They may also be less able to negotiate wooden or tiled floors and may need carpeted areas to help them with grip whilst getting up.