The sad truth is that we usually outlive our pets. And in their old age, they need a little extra love and care to keep them healthy and comfortable. As do we all.
What Qualifies As Senior?
In the dog world, large breeds of dog, such as great danes, are considered seniors as young as six, while eight to 10 is the range for medium-size breeds (labradors and German shepherds). For small breeds such as chihuahuas, it’s 10 to 11.
Senior pets should have a general veterinary check-up annually. Aging dogs may suffer from liver, kidney, or heart problems and arthritis, which can be helped by dietary supplements. Ask your vet for recommendations. Older dogs are more likely to suffer from dental problems. Cleaning your dog’s teeth will help a lot, as diseased teeth and gums can lead to other health problems.
Switching to a seniors’ dog food can prevent a less-active dog from stacking on the pounds. Exercise is necessary to maintain good health however, so keep up the daily walks, even if you cut the distance back to once around the block.
Arthritic or not, older dogs become less agile, so make sure your dog’s bed is easily accessible and well padded. They may also become less sure on their feet on polished surfaces such as floorboards, so place non-slip mats in areas where they’re likely to be walking to help prevent them sliding.
Cats can be considered elderly after about 12 years of age. Like dogs, their dietary needs change and they become less active with age. One consequence of this is that their claws don’t wear down naturally, so you may need to trim them regularly. Your aging, less-agile feline may also need help with grooming, especially around the tricky areas such as the eyes, ears, and bottom.
Accessibility to litter trays and beds needs to be checked, cat flaps may have to be loosened or lowered, and little things like a carpeted plank as a ramp to a favourite sunny spot can make life much easier for the senior cat.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.