Senior Animal Care

August 3, 2015

Pets are like little furry children to most of us pet owners- we want to be sure they’re well taken care of since they’re a part of the family. Here are some tips on senior animal care to keep in mind whether they’re your own or in a shelter you’re helping in.

Mobility

Like humans, senior pets often suffer from arthritis and other conditions that affect their ability to walk, jump, and so on. Make sure your senior pets have access to food, water, bathroom access, and places to sleep and hide that don’t require jumping or climbing. Cat trees with ramps are a good option for older cats. For dogs, putting small steps near couches or beds can be helpful.

Hygiene

Older pets may have a harder time cleaning themselves. Sometimes this is due to mobility because they just can’t twist around to clean certain spots anymore, or their minds may not work as well as they used to and they might not remember. Regardless of the cause, you may need to help your pet with grooming and cleaning if you notice their hygiene is being neglected.

Dietary Requirements

Seniors can’t always process food as well as younger pets. They may need special food that’s designed for easier digestion and to address different nutritional needs. If your pet is throwing up their food or seems ill, it may be time to have a vet determine if they need a special diet.

Mental Changes

Like humans, older pets can get dementia and other forms of mental debilitation. They might get confused more easily, forget where their litter box is even after years of using it, they may become more easily agitated if they’re getting confused, and so on. The best course of action in senior animal care is to watch them and document changes that you notice so you can discuss it with your vet.

Behavioral Changes 

Senior cats may change their usual behavior. Some may start yowling at night, others may start peeing in unusual places, sleep a lot more or become more or less affectionate. There are countless behavioral changes that senior pets may exhibit, and they can be caused by various physical changes, such as illness or arthritis, or mental changes such as dementia or simply personality shifts that sometimes come with age. Senior animal care involves watching these changes and contacting your vet if they’re concerning.

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