Is your senior dog or cat moving more slowly? Taking the stairs a bit more hesitantly? Or perhaps having trouble keeping themselves looking clean and neat? While advancing age will lead to some inevitable changes in your pet’s physical capabilities and condition, there is a lot you can do to support them in their golden years. With some thoughtful home TLC and regular veterinary care, your senior friend will be able to remain mobile and young at heart for even longer.
Many older pets will need a nail trim every six-to-eight weeks due to a reduced ability to wear down their own nails. This will not only prevent painful nail overgrowth, but improve their stability on slippery floors.
Long-haired pets will usually require regular deep combing or brushing to prevent fur matting, or the clipping of fur from around their bottoms, legs or bodies to reduce grooming requirements. Short-haired pets will benefit from gentle daily brushing to remove dead hairs.
Keeping older dogs and cats mentally active will help to slow age-related brain deterioration – after all, if you don’t use it, you lose it!
Try to offer your pet a variety of food puzzle toys or snuffle mats filled with exciting treats. You can also search online for great DIY puzzle toy ideas that can be created cheaply (and sustainably!) from recycled cardboard boxes and tubes at home.
Dogs will love being taken to new parks or walking trails for exploration of new sights, sounds and smells, whilst cats will enjoy sitting on an accessible cat climbing tower placed near a window, watching the world go by.
Certain veterinary diets or supplements containing antioxidants and/or essential fatty acids that can help to support brain health and function in pets, particularly when started before significant disease develops.
Arthritis affects many middle-aged to older pets, and causes progressive joint stiffness and pain.
We can help your pet to stay comfortable and mobile with a variety of supportive treatment options, including anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications, and supplements with natural anti-inflammatory and cartilage repairing effects.
Pets will also benefit from staying in a slim, healthy body condition and partaking in gentle daily exercise, which may include walking, hydrotherapy or pet physiotherapy.
Ensure that your older pet has easy access to their toileting facilities, ideally with no steps to traverse. It’s also safest if all surfaces along their route are non-slip. For smooth-floored areas, cheap non-slip matting can be purchased from stores such as Kmart or Bunnings and made into tracks for your pet.
If your pet has reduced vision, it can also really help to place some night lights along their toileting path. If they show any noticeable cloudiness in their eyes, it’s best to have them checked by one of our vets to ensure that this is normal, age-related change and not problematic eye disease requiring treatment.
Whilst your pet may be getting grey around the muzzle, we can help them to age gracefully and comfortably. Check-ups every 6-to-12 months will help us to identify any behavioural or physical health changes, so we can start supportive treatment as early as possible.
Book your pet for an old age check-up today!