By: Jessica Brody, OurBestFriends.Pet
Caring for senior pets isn’t always easy. While those silver paws and muzzles can be adorable, providing for the special needs of senior pets can also be a challenge. So, if you are a pet owner who is caring for an aging pet, know that adding these senior pet essentials to your routine can make caring for your furry family members easier.
High Protein Foods
Protein is an essential part of a senior pet’s diet. Not only does it contain amino acids, which are the foundation for a healthy muscle tissue, protein is also important to everything from hormone regulation to having a healthy immune system. When combined with a low-carb/low-sugar diet, a diet high in protein can help keep your pet healthy for all of his years. Do make sure, however, to give foods based on quaility animal proteins, not from plants. This will ensure lower levels of calcium, ash, and phosphorus, which offers protective benefits for renal function.
Comforting and Cozy Pet Beds
Your pets may need some extra comfort as they get older. If you have a cat, consider buying a new cat bed to keep your feline family member extra cozy. Some even include features that can be especially soothing for senior pets, such as elevated beds, cave-like beds, and even heated beds. Senior pups will enjoy a plush new bed as well, so do your homework to see which beds are most recommended for older dogs. For example, an orthopedic dog bed can provide that extra comfort for pups with arthritis and help keep your aging pet nice and cozy.
Elevated Food and Water Bowls
If your dog is suffering from some arthritis or stiffness in old age, elevated feeders can provide some comfort and relief. Because even small movements can be painful for pets with arthritis or other forms of inflammation, including leaning their heads down to drink water or eat food. So, you may want to consider raising your pet’s bowls to relieve additional pain and tension. If you have large-breed dogs, you should also be aware of bloat and torsion risks, since some think that elevated feeders can contribute to these deadly conditions. When in doubt, ask your vet.
Senior Cat-Friendly Litter Boxes
When you have a senior cat, you may not need to worry about providing elevated bowls to relieve arthritis discomfort, but you may want to think about upgrading your litter box. Whether it’s preventing accidents for cats experiencing incontinence or providing enhanced access for cats with arthritis, these senior cat-friendly litter boxes can improve your older feline’s life. Speaking of litter boxes, you should also be on the lookout for litter-box issues that could be signs of more serious health conditions, like frequent potty breaks or decreased clump size. If you notice any of these in or around your cat’s litter box, you should make a vet appointment.
Tasty Treats That Hide Medication
As pets get older, they may be in need of more medication to regulate age-related health issues. If you’ve never administered medications to your pet before, getting them to take pills and other forms of medication can be tricky. Luckily, there are quite a few pill-pocket treats that can make your life much easier and ensure your pet always takes his/her medicine. If you can’t find these treats, there are other ways to administer medication to pets, such as placing pills in soft human foods or baking your own pill pockets. Of course, the cost of pet medications can also be an issue, so you should also look for savings on pet prescriptions and care.
Fun That’s Safe and Healthy for Senior Pets
Pets tend to slow down a bit as they age, but that doesn’t mean they should fall into sedentary habits. In fact, keeping your pet active is a good way to provide relief from many age-related pet health conditions. So, you may just need to adjust your activities so they are comfortable and safe for your older pet. If your dog seems to get stiff from those long strolls, try shorter walks to see if that helps. You can also try gentle massage for both cats and dogs, to help relieve pain and inflammation that can creep up after play or other physical activity. Since obesity can be an issue for older pets, you should also consider switching food if your pet is less active with age.
Just like older humans, senior animals tend to require a little more care and comfort to keep them healthy and happy. You can start providing this extra support for your senior pets by investing in the supplies and routines suggested above. Then, you can focus your energy on enjoying more cuddles and nose boops.