May 01, 2022 | By, For Pet's Sake

Help your pet age safely and happily with these tips for elderly animals

Aging pets often require just as much responsibility and attention as young pets who have just entered the world. It might be easy to assume older pets know how to behave, communicate their problems, and handle potential dangers, but that’s not always the case. They also may be more vulnerable to diseases and injuries, some of which can’t be prevented even by the most dedicated owners and veterinary staff.

As you care for an elderly pet, keep in mind that they probably need extra help doing the more basic tasks you took for granted in the past. That includes walking slower, giving them ample time to go to the bathroom, carrying them when the terrain is too strenuous, and giving them medicine and supplements each day. These responsibilities might seem burdensome at first, but they can also be very rewarding because they will allow you to bond with your pet in new ways.

Be careful when they play with younger animals. As you may remember, younger animals don’t have an “off” switch in terms of energy, so they will continue to play until they are exhausted and possibly even beyond that. Your older pet will have much less energy and will tire out sooner, making them more prone to an accident or lashing out because they are cranky.

Watch out for new symptoms that may signal chronic disease. Health problems can plague pets of any age, but they are more common in older animals. Be aware of any new behaviors, growths, and abnormalities because they could be related to diabetes, arthritis, cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, dental problems, weight gain, hearing loss, cataracts, and more. You can also research your pet’s breed and genetic records to find which health issues they are more likely to face. 

Don’t let them jump off of high things or use stairs. Pets tend to heal more slowly from injuries and illnesses as they age. If you know your pet has bone and joint issues, you definitely should keep them away from any kind of activity that could cause trauma. Even if you think your pet is healthy despite their age, you don’t want to put them at risk of a complicated recovery process by allowing them to jump and climb like they did in their younger years.

Visit your veterinarian more often. You may have been able to get away with seeing your vet once a year or whenever your pet needed vaccination updates, but more frequent visits are recommended with age. Health can deteriorate quickly, so it’s important to have a professional constantly checking for warnings of disease.

Think about investing in pet insurance. With examinations, lab tests, and surgeries looming as treatment options, pet insurance could become useful in the later years of your pet’s life. These costs are expensive on their own, and they can stack up quickly when veterinarians are trying to find the cause of your pet’s symptoms. Check with each insurance company to see which expenses they will cover and at what percentage so your money is going toward a policy that will help you in the future. 

Ensure your pet’s life gets better with age by following these tips. You won’t regret it because you’ll be more prepared for unexpected problems, and your pet will be grateful because they will be receiving the special care they deserve as they become an elder of the animal community.

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