As a Raleigh community animal hospital, here at Leesville Animal Hospital, we care for pets of all ages from birth to the day they head to the Rainbow Bridge. During that time, perhaps the most demanding years are those few at the beginning and those few at the end. Today we want to talk about those few years at the end of your pet’s life and how you can provide your senior pets with the best quality of life possible.
Raleigh Community Animal Hospital Shares 5 Senior Pet Care Tips
1. Reassess Your Pet’s Diet
As your pet ages, just like a human, their activity level is going to change and the nutrients that their body needs to perform optimally are going to differ. This means that sometimes the diet that your pet has been eating as an adult is not ideal for them in their golden years.
Now, your pet does not necessarily need a change in diet, but this is a good time to reassess your pet’s energy levels and nutritional needs and how they may be different from what they once were. The best way to do this is to set up an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian and ask any questions that you may have about your pet’s changing needs.
2. Reassess Your Pet’s Activity
Again, just like us, as our pet’s age they begin to slow down a little bit. This slow down is a result of natural wear and tear on the body causing aches and pains as well as reduced energy levels and stamina. If you notice that your pet has begun to slow down or have trouble with activities that they used to enjoy, this is a good time to reassess activity levels. Ask yourself a few of these questions:
- Am I asking my pet to do too much at their age?
- Do I need to adjust the length of time or intensity of our current activities to allow my senior pet to keep up?
- Do I need to find a new activity for me and my pet to do because my pet is having difficulty with current activities?
- Is a reduction in my pet’s activity level the result of a health concern that should be addressed further?
By working with your veterinarian, you can ensure that your pet is receiving the nutrients for their life stage and calories that they need without excessive weight gain due to lowered activity levels.
3. Talk To Your Vet About Supplements
As your pet ages, you may also want to assess whether supplements could be beneficial to your pet. Your vet will help you to do this after physically examining your pet and noting any stiffness, arthritis, swelling, or injury and signs of nutrient deficiencies that may require additional supplementation. For example, it’s very common for older large breed dogs to develop arthritis in their joints. Adding a joint supplement to your dog’s routine can help to support those aching joints and relieve swelling.
4. Make Necessary Changes at Home
As our pets age, there are a number of things that can happen that may require us to make adjustments at home to make our pets more comfortable. Talking to your veterinarian as well as paying close attention to your pet’s activities at home can help you to identify any changes that you may need to make to make your senior pet more comfortable. Some of these changes may include…
- Purchasing a more supportive bed to relieve pressure on arthritic joints.
- Placing down more area rugs on tile, wood, and marble floors to make rising from a lying position easier.
- Making walkways more navigable to pets losing their sight by making small adjustments to furniture placement. Big adjustments can cause confusion, but just making walkways wider can help your pet to avoid bumping into things.
- Investing in steps or ramps to help your pets climb onto furniture or navigate into the house or onto the second floor of the house.
5. Increase Your Pet’s Annual Vet Visits to Twice a Year
When our pets are adults and healthy, we do annual vet visits for preventative care. During these visits, we ensure that their vaccinations are up to date and do physical exams to check for signs of illness or injury. Doing annual exams allows us to catch any signs of injury or illness before they become too advanced. As our pets age, however, they – like us -can be more susceptible to illness, which is why we recommend biannual visits for our senior pet patients. This allows us to catch illness as it begins, but it also allows us to monitor any existing conditions and medications to ensure that your dog remains comfortable in their senior years.
Are You Looking For a Reputable Raleigh Community Animal Hospital?
If you’re looking for an experienced and reputable Raleigh animal hospital to help with the care of your senior pets, we’d love for you to consider joining our family here at Leesville Animal Hospital in North Raleigh! Just give us a call today at (919)870-7000 and we’ll get you set up with an appointment with one of our incredible veterinarians!