Like their owners, as pets age they can develop and endure health issues, such as reduced mobility or decreased cognitive function.
Older dogs and cats should be monitored more than young pets to help maintain their health and mobility. As an owner you are best placed to notice a change in your pet or if they are not feeling themselves. Keeping an eye out for behavioural changes or any change to their normal routine can help to maintain their healthy life.
To help care for your senior cat or dog, here are some top tips to support their health as they age:
Regular vet check ups
Regular visits to your vet is important for older pets. They will be able to offer advice and keep an eye out for any new health issues that might arise. This will also help to keep up-to-date with annual vaccinations, which are still important in older pets.
Keep them moving
Although they might not be as fast or walk as far as younger pets, it’s still vital to make sure they exercise. Walking your senior dog will help to prevent weight gain and aid their cognitive function by keeping their mind active. Walks should be shorter but are integral to prevent weight gain, which could lead to stiff joints.
It’s important to ensure that your pet is getting the essential nutrients as they age. Obesity is more common in older pets as they have a tendency to move less. Pet food that is produced specifically for senior pets has fewer calories, reduced fat and more fibre.
Keep up with grooming
Regular grooming is important for your senior pet to help keep their skin and coat in good condition. As your pet ages joint stiffness may prevent them from being able to groom themselves.
Like us, as pet’s age they can lose cognitive function. If your pet starts having accidents around the house or getting disorientated, it could be a sign that they have cognitive dysfunction. Keeping an eye on your pet’s behavior is integral to spotting these signs early.
As your pet’s age, you may notice a reduction in mobility. Simple tasks such as going up the stairs or getting into the car might be a struggle. To help keep your pet mobile, you could use a ramp to help get them into the car and prevent pets from jumping up. Move your cat’s food bowl to floor level rather than feeding them on high surfaces so that they don’t have to jump up to get it. Further support, such as a natural product like nutraquin+ could help aid and soothe stiff joints.
Older pets might not be able to handle stressful situations. Reducing stress in their home environment or outside will help to prevent unruly behavior. Ensure they have a den or a safe spot that they can go to and feel comfortable in during stressful situations.
Make sure your pet has comfy warm bedding away from any drafts. They should have close access to the garden as your older pet's toilet habits may change with age and they might have to go more often. For smaller dogs make sure they have extra bedding during winter months to keep them warm and extra bedding can be used as padding for their joints.
Maintain good oral health
Regardless of age, it’s important to keep up with brushing your pet’s teeth to remove any plaque or bacteria build up. As your dog or cat ages, their routine and diet may change so it’s key to keep this particular routine up.
Clip your pet’s nails
As your elderly pet can become less active, their nails can get long and could cause ingrowing nails. If you don’t feel confident trimming your dog or cat's nails, consult your vet for help and advice. Be careful not to trim too far, as you could cut part of the nail that contains sensitive blood vessels and nerves.
Litter trays for your cat
As your senior cat is more likely to have accidents and need the toilet more, make sure there is a sufficient amount of litter trays around the house for them to use. Keep an eye on their toilet habits in case they appear to have trouble with urinary output. This could be a sign that they may need support with their urinary tract health.
If you think that your older pet my need support, it’s best to consult your vet, who will be able to advise the best solution for your dog or cat’s health needs. nutravet has a number of supplements for older dogs and cats, such as nutracalm, nutramind, and nutraquin+ can help maintain the health of your pet.