Five Tips to Help You Give Your Senior Pets More Quality of Life.
Peter H. Eeg DVM
Poolesville Veterinary Clinic
As our friends age, there are often issues that begin to be more common and create some troubling issues for the Pet Parents. Here are five tips to help you help your senior furry friends.
- Consider the Use of Ramps: If your dog or cat has increasing mobility issues that make getting up onto the bed, chair, sofa or feeding area difficult, try adding a ramp or stairs so they do not have to try and Jump or climb. This can also help prevent injuries as the older pet will have less opportunity to fall back injuring their back or rear legs.
- Take Precautions to Prevent Injuries: Older pets can begin to have trouble with balance and vision. Consider gating off stairways both upstairs and downstairs or adding safety mats to prevent slipping. You can also add rubber grippers to keep throw rugs from being slippery. Cover slick surfaces with yoga mats, or extended runners to prevent Slips, trips and falls.
- Keep Your Pet Active: studies in people have conclusively shown that maintaining and active life style with walks, swimming and exercise activities will improve joint motion, reduce back pain and improve balance. Exercise requirements actually increase as pets age do to muscle atrophy issues. If your furry friend has not been active for some time, it is important to gradually work into a routine. Start out with short distances of walking for your canine friends and short find the toy or chase the toy games for your feline friends. Gradually increase the time over several weeks as your pets’ duration grows. If your pet needs to take a break, do not push them. Relax and hang out with them. Its good for your mental state also.
- Stimulate Your Pets’ Mind: Aging pets can still learn new tricks (OK one of my cats refuses to learn new tricks because they are above all that). Go ahead and teach them to shake hands, give a high five, ring a bell for food or to go outside or one of many other tricks. The only limit is your mind and your pets desire to have fun with you.
- Keep Your Pet at a Healthy Weight: Obesity in pets is very common in the United States. It makes getting around more difficult for your aging pets. It also places excess strain on joints and muscles, that can exacerbate injuries and create pain. Helping your pet loose even a small amount of weight can make a major difference in their mobility and quality of life. Always check with your veterinarian before making any diet changes or activity changes for your senior furry friends.
These are just a few of many simple considerations to help your older pets have a better quality of life and give you a better enjoyment of having them in your lives.
Next issue; Part II of Tips for Caring for Your Senior Pets.