Is your furry friend a little gray in the muzzle? If so, your pet may be entering the senior stage of its life. Caring for a pet is not easy. That is especially so when it comes to caring for an older pet. Your aging animal companion may need some help getting onto the couch or require a few new medications. They may be less active than ever before.
When Do Pets Become Old?
The age at which pets become old varies. For small dogs and cats, the old age is usually seven years. For larger breed dogs, the senior age is approximately six years. So as a pet owner, you should not think of your pet’s age in human terms.
Of course, it is not as simple as one human year equals a certain number of years for your animal companion. However, it would help to remember that most animals age faster than humans.
Taking Care of an Aging Pet
If your animal friend is aging, you need to start making subtle changes to their routine. It would be best if you also changed your pet’s home environment and veterinary care to help them live a more comfortable and healthier life. Other ways to care for senior pets include:
Keep Your Pet Active
As pets age, they should continue to get plenty of exercise. One of the main drivers of metabolism is muscle mass. Animals that lose muscle mass tend to develop frailty syndrome, accelerating the aging process. If your pet’s activity level gradually decreases, it could indicate a health problem.
As a pet owner, you should watch out for subtle signs of discomfort or pain and consult a veterinarian if the problem persists. Slowing down is not always normal for senior pets. It could be indicative of unaddressed pain.
Prepare for Accidents
Older pets will have an accident at some point. So instead of fussing or getting angry, you need to prepare by having potty pads and an excellent cleaner to ensure that your pet’s living environment is clean and healthy.
Get Your Pet’s Blood Work Checked
As your pet ages, you should regularly have them examined by a veterinarian. Besides a biannual or annual exam, you should get yearly blood work done for your senior pet. Doing so will help ensure that your animal companion is healthy. It will also help detect any health condition.
Make Small Changes to Your Pet’s Environment
If you have a senior pet, you need to make minor adjustments to your home and pet’s environment. For example, add carpeting around your home to help your pet have an easier time walking around and less likely to slip. You should also consider installing pet ramps throughout your house and reevaluate the pet water and food setup.
Thanks to improved dietary habits and veterinary care, pets live longer today than they did in the past. But one consequence is that pet owners now face a new set of age-related pet conditions. If your animal companion is aging, talk to your veterinarian about the best way to protect your pet and keep them comfortable.
For more on pet care or to learn more information, call Highland Veterinary Clinic at 812-710-4300 our office in Evansville, Indiana.