Tips and Tricks to Care for Your Older, Wiser Furry Friend
If your dog or cat has reached senior citizen status, they’re probably showing signs of health changes. What this means for you is that your pet’s care and everyday life may need to change some, too. The good news for pet parents is that these changes can make a major difference in improving your pet’s health and quality of life.
Address Care Concerns
Our pets thrive from routine, but when you have an aging animal, it’s a good idea to consider whether your care routine needs to be shaken up. For example, your senior dog may need more frequent but shorter walks these days.
Finding the Right Care
Senior pets have special needs, which means more time and patience on your part. Anytime you have travel plans, or if you’re ever away from home longer than usual, you’ll need someone who can provide the same quality care you give your pets. There are some great online resources for finding pet sitters, but remember that not all sitters are created equal! These resources can connect you with excellent candidates. Then once you find someone, make sure you take the time to ask the right questions, check out their experience, and meet them in person to make sure you’ve found a good match.
Senior pets are also more likely to need regular medications. This means you need some good strategies to make giving medication easier for you both. If you have a pup who simply won’t tolerate a pill or a dropper, consider trying one of these medicine hacks from K9 of Mine. What kind of extra special treat does your pooch love most: sausage, fresh-cooked chicken, or yummy dog treats? As long as you don’t overdo it (which could lead to overeating and weight gain), don’t hesitate to spoil your pup with a tasty treat as a way to make giving medicine easier. Many of the same medicine tricks work for cats, too, especially if you have a food-loving kitty.
One thing to think about as your pet needs more medications and vet care is how you can keep the cost of quality care from busting your budget. For many senior pet parents, purchasing pet insurance is the best solution. There are some great companies offering pet insurance today, but keep in mind that coverage, limits, and costs vary from one company to another. For example, Trupanion is one reputable pet insurance company that doesn’t have restrictive age limits, pays your vet quickly, and covers a wide range of services. Other companies may not offer the same benefits, so make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before buying any policy.
Maximize Mobility and Comfort
One of the hardest parts about aging (for both pets and humans) is how mobility gets more challenging. Senior cats and dogs can develop arthritis, making it more difficult and painful to get around. Yet as the Humane Society explains, staying active is essential for keeping joints loose and reducing pain, not to mention keeping senior pets happier. Their recommended solution is to give your pet as much traction as possible so that movement is easier. If your home has hard floors, getting carpet runners is the perfect way to create more traction.
Besides making it easier for your pets to move around your home, you may also need to encourage active play. Since we all love to pamper our pets, don’t hesitate to spoil them with new toys that are perfectly suited for their age. Look for toys that are enticing so your pet will want to play, along with ones that are soft so they’re easy on the gums. For senior dogs, try toys that are squeaky or flavored, and for cats, wands with soft feathers are perfect.
Every pet parent wishes their four-legged family members could stay young and active forever. Since aging is unavoidable, the best thing you can do is give your senior citizen pet the best care and comfort possible. These tips will help make that easier, and they may even bring out the puppy (or kitty) that’s still inside.
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