Dogs and cats are living longer than ever, thanks to advances in veterinary care and healthy diets. A pet may be considered a senior about 7 years on average if you’re going to consider all breeds and sizes together. But small breed of dogs and cats do tend to age less quickly than larger/giant breeds.

As your pet enters their senior years, you’ll want to make some changes in the care you provide to let them live healthier and happier lives throughout their years. Here are some tips.

 

  1. Feed All-Natural Senior Pet Food

Transition your pet to a diet specifically formulated for senior pets, which are easier to digest and formulated for their changing nutritional needs. You may also want to add in more wet food to their meals so that it will be easier for your senior pets to chew on.

 

Vigor & Sage Astragalus Well-Being Senior Cat Food 2kg

 

 

Fromm Canned Dog Food Grain-free Seafood Medley 12.2 oz

 

 

  1. Watch out for their weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is more important than ever, as weight has a significant impact on over health and longevity. Keep an eye out for sudden increases or decreases in weight which can be a sign or cause of health issues.

 

  1. Encourage moderate exercise and playtime

Exercise will continue to be important, but you’ll need to adjust it over time, based on your pet’s abilities and energy level. The exercise that you provide may be slower, but walks and interactive toys keep your furbabies in better shape, both mentally and physically.

Kong Toy Senior Kong Medium

 

  1. Avoid Hard Chew Toys/Bones

You’ll want to also avoid giving your pets hard chew toys and bones, as brittle aging teeth, can be more likely to break while chewing these items.

 

 

  1. Watch out for signs of arthritis

Pets get arthritis just like humans.

Symptoms include:

  • Favoring a limb
  • Difficulty sitting or standing
  • Seemingly stiff or sore joints
  • Hesitancy to jump, run, or climb stairs
  • Decreased interest in activity or play
  • Behavior changes
  • Sleeping more
  • Weight gain
  • Less alert

The symptoms are fairly obvious, but others can be easy to confuse with normal aging. If your pet is exhibiting signs of joint pain, schedule an appointment with your vet to discuss treatment options. You may also try giving your pet some supplements to help keep their hips & joints healthy.

Ark Naturals Joint Rescue Super Strength Chewable 60 Tabs

 

  1. Groom your pet more frequently

It’s also a good idea to groom your pet more frequently, especially long-haired pets. In addition to keeping their hair unmatted and nails under control, it will give you a chance to inspect your pet for parasites, skin disorders and unusual lumps, bumps, or lesions that call for a visit to your veterinarian.

 

Four Paws Cat Grooming Love Glove

 

  1. Provide Regular Oral Care

Continue with dental cleanings that are often recommended by vets and brush your pet’s teeth at home. Pets who haven’t received proper oral care, are much more likely to have periodontal disease which can be painful and also cause life-threatening complications in vital organs.

 

Zymox Dental Gel 1 Oz

 

 8. Keep your dog’s environment as familiar and comfortable as possible. 

A soft, warm place to sleep and protection from the elements are recommended to keep your dog happiest and healthiest. If they like going up on couches or beds, you may also need to give them a boost with pet stairs.

Solvit Pupstep Pet Stairs XLarge 28X18X25

 

  1. Watch out for changes in behavior

If you notice sudden changes in behavior, eating habits, or physical and mental activity, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. When detected early, illnesses are better diagnosed and treated, enabling your aging pets to have a more comfortable life.

Hearing and vision are a normal part of aging. Keep in mind that pets with hearing or vision loss are often easily startled. So be especially careful if your senior pet is around toddlers or younger pets.

 

  1. See your veterinarian more often

Even under normal circumstances, veterinarians will want to examine your pet more often, at least twice a year, to monitor their overall health and catch any issues as early as possible.

 

Whether they’re new to your home or they’ve been with you for years, older dogs and cats require a little extra love and care, and these are just some of the steps you can take to ensure that they’ll be healthy and happy through their golden years.