Everyone knows that a puppy’s needs are different from those of a grown dog.  So, doesn’t it make sense that senior dogs (and cats) have their own specific needs as well? The reality is senior pets have special care requirements because of their unique age-related challenges. If your cat or dog is getting on in years, now is the time to reevaluate your pet’s needs and the care that you’re providing.  Below are some answers to the most frequently asked questions relating to senior pets. Use this guide to learn more about senior pet care and how you can help your cat or dog live a long, healthy life.

FAQS about Senior Pets

How do you know if your cat or dog is old?

Generally speaking, a cat or dog that is 7 years or older is thought to be senior. However, this is just a guideline. In actuality, it varies from pet to pet as a pet’s breed and size (especially for dogs) play a big factor in determining their life span and relative age.

What are common health problems that may affect pets as they age?

As your pet gets older, its body gets weaker, so health problems are inevitable. While every dog or cat is different, below are some ailments that are common in elderly pets:

  • Fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Increased urination
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney and urinary tract diseases
  • Bone and joint disorders

How can I help my pet as it ages?

There are a variety of ways to help your pet maintain its quality of life as it gets older.  Here are some ways you can help:

●      Visit the vet often

First and foremost, you should take your cat or dog for annual or semi-annual checkups and wellness exams. This is the best way to keep your pet healthy and catch any potential issues early on.

●      Pay Careful Attention To Your Pet’s Diet

Next, you should give careful consideration to what you’re feeding them. Geriatric pets may need food that is specially formulated for their age-related health conditions. Look for pet food that is designed with elderly pets in mind.

●      Monitor Your Pet’s Weight

Don’t let your pet get pudgy! Excess weight can cause serious complications for your pet and can negatively impact their health in both big and small ways. Feeding your pet nutritious, wholesome food is an easy, but effective way to keep their weight in check and potentially prolong their life.

●      Keep Your Pet Active

Some pet owners mistakenly believe that you should limit your cat or dog’s physical activity as they get older. While it’s true that senior pets generally require more rest than their younger counterparts, that doesn’t mean they should stop moving! In fact, the more your pet is active, the healthier it will be. Gentle play time and regular physical activity will help keep your senior pet mobile and help defend them against a host of diseases.

●      Senior Proof Your Home

Your pet’s environment at home may need to be modified once they begin to age. Since senior pets often have trouble climbing stairs, it’s best to keep their food and water downstairs to prevent overexertion. Additionally, it is recommended to use soft bedding and blanket for aging pets, especially for those that have achy joints. Lastly, consider using rugs to cover any slick surfaces that your pet frequents. This will help prevent them from falling if they’re prone to losing their footing.

The most important thing to remember when caring for your senior pet is to give them the extra love and attention they need, and to closely monitor their health. A happy, healthy life is possible for your senior pet…but only with your help!